A Mobile Phone in The Car Can be a Lifesaver
By now we all know that driving while using your cellphone is a bad idea. It is known as distracted driving and can cause deadly accidents. There are even studies that rank cellphone use more dangerous than driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Since you would need to be living under a rock to not know about the dangers of distracted driving, there are a lot of ways your cellphone can come in handy in the event of an accident.
1. 911 – Call for Assistance
While some newer cars come with built in vehicle safety systems that can contact you when they are alerted to your car being in an accident, most cars don’t have this feature. On Star and BMW Assist are both in-car systems and can be an actual life saver if you are in an accident in a remote area (they rely on satellite GPS) or if injuries require time to be of the essence. There are some apps for Android and iPhone that can detect a car crash but our research indicates these apps are not getting great reviews and not necessarily to be relied upon. We will update this post when we have more info in the future.
Even with a hands-free device in your car, a higher impact crash will likely dislodge your phone and it may end up out of reach. This could be catastrophic in the event you are pinned in the car and can’t get to the phone. It is a wise idea to have your voice activated assistant, (Siri on the iPhone, Hey Google on Android) set up so it’s possible to call out to your phone to call 911. Assuming you have a cell signal, either your provider or another, you can ask you voice assistant to call 911. Science ABC has a good article explaining how 911 works when your phone provider has no signal.
If you are ok after an accident but someone else may be injured you can use your cellphone to call 911 (or if you see an accident, you can call for help). In some larger cities the police will only come if someone is injured. By telling the 911 operator there are no injuries, you may not get a police report because the police won’t show. Something to keep in mind if there is significant damage.
2. Photographs and Witnesses
Another way your cellphone can be a blessing is to gather photographic evidence at the scene. If you have a dashcam you may have a record of what led up to or caused the accident. Either way, your phone is a good way to preserve evidence for later, since people may change their stories or not remember correctly. By taking photos of the streets, the collision, the position of the cars, etc., there should be fewer questions about what happened.
You can also make notes of witnesses’ names and contact details and/or record them saying what they saw from their perspective. It’s also important to note that some witnesses will leave when they see everyone is ok, often before the police arrive. Good idea to try to get their name and number before they leave the scene if possible.
3. Contact Friends, Family or Your Employer
You may need to call someone to pick you up if your car is not drivable or just to let family know what has happened. You may be injured but not enough for an ambulance but need someone to take you to your doctor or Urgent Care. If there is a lot of time standing around, you can call your insurance company who will also walk you through the steps you should take at the scene.
Although we hear a lot about the dangers of using your cellphone in your car, a cellphone can be a real lifesaver in an emergency. The important thing is to use good judgement and not use it while driving.