It’s a situation many will no doubt be familiar with, fumbling to find the seat belt buckle in the dark, more so in an unfamiliar vehicle. Skoda has come up with a way to eliminate the hassle of trying to belt up at night with an illuminated seat belt buckle.

The automaker has been granted a worldwide patent for its new lighted system, which feature a clear transparent button in place of the traditional red eject button. The new button features a pair of three-mode, multi-colour LEDs sitting under a crystalline-patterned clear plastic button to indicate the status of the belt buckle at all times.

With no one on the seat, the LED is coloured white to denote the location of the buckle. When an occupant is detected on the seat, a weight sensor in the seat base recognises the presence through load, and the LED changes to red. Once buckled up, the LED changes to green to signal a successful engagement and then switches back to white in order to be less distracting to occupants.

Skoda says the coloured signalling system is especially handy for parents to quickly check on children who have either forgotten to fasten their belt or have not engaged the buckle correctly. It added that the buckle can be programmed to have an animated welcome sequence to make it even more noticeable in dark environments.

The illuminated seat belt buckle is the latest innovation to come about from the automaker’s research centre, which is prodigious in its output of novel. Last year, it filed 94 individual patent applications, more than any other company in the Czech Republic.

Other patent innovations by the company include a flexible cargo snake, which allows boxes, crates and other objects to be positioned more securely alongside luggage in the boot area, as well as carpet mats made of hollow fibre fabric that are easier to clean and hide dirt better.