What is Crash Detection and How Do I Use it?

Technology has been continuously developed and added to modern vehicles in the hopes of minimising the number of accidents drivers get into on our roads. Everything from cameras with a 360 degree view around the car to automatic braking systems that can react faster than a human are employed to improve the safety of every road user. But, if a major accident does occur, there’s not much else your mangled motor can do to get you to safety from that point onwards. That’s where your phone comes into play. A feature most notably introduced to iPhones by Apple recently (which was actually on Google’s Pixel phones as early as 2019) can put you through to the emergency services instantly after an accident. How? A clever piece of tech known as Crash Detection.

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What Does Crash Detection Do?

Crash detection is a popular piece of software that’s used on iPhones and Apple smartwatches to immediately and automatically give the user access to the emergency services after a car accident. When the device senses an all-too-abrupt stop or erratic movement, it will automatically call 999, or at the very least, ask the user if they need to call the emergency services. It acts as a method to rapidly call for help in the event of a crash, even if the user is injured or incapacitated. It might not be able to personally provide you any medical care or breakdown assistance, but it can get you help in a hurry.

How Does Your Phone Detect Accidents?

A phone or smartwatch is able to detect road traffic accidents thanks to the incredible technology that’s crammed within their small exteriors. These devices are able to monitor levels of G-forces that they’re put under, but also combine these readings with the output of a built-in barometer, gyroscope, motion sensors, GPS and even its microphone. The data gathered by the device is used to detect the patterns that would occur during a crash, whether that’s a sudden stop or impact from any direction, or even flips and rolls!

Why Should I Have Crash Detection Enabled?

Having crash detection enabled on your iPhone, Apple Watch or any other device with similar software could quite literally be the difference between life and death. If you have an accident, particularly somewhere remote like down a narrow country lane in the middle of the night, you could be trapped in the vehicle and unable to reach your phone to call for help yourself. You might also be involved in a collision on the motorway, surrounded by high-speed traffic, and require the assistance of the police to close the road before somebody else unwittingly ploughs into the rear of your crashed car too. The instantaneous reaction from your phone could prevent the situation from escalating further.

You could also end up severely injured, unconscious, or even hurt so badly that death is a real possibility. In those situations, every second counts. You won’t need to worry about getting hold of your phone to call an ambulance with a broken arm or when you’re stuck belted into your seat; the phone will do it for you in a matter of seconds!

How To Turn On Crash Detection

On Apple devices, crash detection is on by default when the phone is initially set up. If you just have an iPhone, then everything will go through that device. If you have an Apple Watch, the call will be placed through the phone but the crash will be detected via the watch.

To turn crash detection off (and then back on again at a later date) you simply need to access the ‘settings’ menu on your device and look for ‘emergency SOS’. There, you’ll see a setting titled ‘call after severe crash’ which does exactly what it says on the tin. Toggle it on or off depending on your preference.

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