South Africa 17.7.2017 01:10 pm

Smartphone app can detect if motorist is in road accident

Image credit: Thinkstock

Image credit: Thinkstock

The app can also gauge how severe the accident is.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), delays in detecting and providing care for those involved in a car accident increase the severity of injuries.

This is according to a statement by Auto & General Insurance.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, in 2016, 32.7% of the 14 071 people that died on South African roads were passengers.

In a bid to ensure timeous medical attention is given to those involved in accidents, Auto & General Insurance has launched AutoSOS, a smartphone-based automatic crash-detection service.

Martin van Wyk, spokesperson for Auto & General Insurance, said: “South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in which to drive, whether you are a driver or passenger.

“When an accident occurs, time is of the essence and delays in receiving the appropriate medical attention often turn out to be fatal.”

Van Wyk explained that unlike other crash-detection services in the insurance market, AutoSOS did not require a deep-installed device.

“AutoSOS uses smart drive-detection technology to automatically switch on when the motorist starts driving. Not only can it detect accidents, but it can also gauge the accidents’ severity based on an intricate and unique algorithm. In a severe accident, when the driver is unconscious, the AutoSOS call centre will be automatically notified and medical responders will be sent to the location immediately,” said Van Wyk.

It is vital that the driver registered on the app saves their medical aid details and ensures these details are always kept up-to-date, as these details may influence the action taken by the Emergency Medical Services.

AutoSOS also sends personal medical information, such as allergies and blood type, to enable doctors and paramedics to offer more effective treatment.

“The aim is to reduce waiting times, and in doing so, save lives,” said Van Wyk.

Safe driving tips, especially at night

According to statistics by the Road Transport Management Corporation, about 56% of crashes occur between 6pm and 6am.

The Automobile Association (AA) said it was therefore important to understand how to drive better in dark conditions, reports the Fourways Review.

The AA said: “Firstly, and most importantly, anyone who suspects they have problems seeing at night should consult a doctor or optometrist to get their eyesight checked. Be honest with yourself about this as it is a safety aspect that needs checking.

“Equally important, anyone who needs prescription spectacles to drive must ensure they wear them, especially in low light conditions. Don’t let vanity outweigh safety as it’s not worth it.”

When driving at night use these safety tips:

  • Have a clear route planned
  • Ensure your headlights and brake lights are in working order. If towing, make sure the brake lights and indicators are connected properly and are functioning well
  • Keep rear and front windscreens clean and make sure your defogger is working
  • Avoid keeping your gaze focused at a single distance, as this can cause eye fatigue
  • Turn your headlights on before sunset and keep them on after sunrise
  • Don’t blind other motorists with your headlights
  • Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of you
  • Drive slower at night
  • Ensure you are well rested before getting behind the wheel at night.

“Also make sure that you are comfortable and able to negotiate driving at night before heading off on a long trip,” AA warned.

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