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With so many people travelling over the holidays all across South Africa’s roads, your phone can be the difference between a tragic accident or someone’s hopeful story of recovery. Using our powerful phones, we can all be heroes in an emergency situation.

Here are five simple ways to use your phone at a roadside emergency:

Call 112

If you are the first person to arrive at the accident scene, call 112. This is the standard emergency phone number on all South African networks. Calling 112 is free and will work even if you’ve run out of airtime. 112 will even work virtually anywhere you don’t have cellphone signal. You can call 112 from any mobile phone, even if it’s locked. A call on this number will also take preference on a busy network.

When you call 112, your call goes to a call centre, and from there you’re connected to the emergency service closest to you.

Use your smartphone’s emergency features

Most smartphones have built-in emergency features. These features can range from sending out an SOS message to selected contacts to storing vital data regarding your health and emergency contacts.

For example, in iPhones, you can create a Medical ID that can be accessed from your lock screen and shows vital information such as your name, date of birth and medical conditions. Your chosen emergency contacts will be automatically notified should you call emergency services with the Emergency SOS function. 

You can also add an emergency contact to your phone's lock screen in Android phones by looking for the option in your phone's Settings - different versions of Android have differing ways to do this. 

Send out a text message when signal is low

If there’s an emergency in an area with low signal, sending out a simple text message to a reliable friend can be the difference between life and death. A text does not use data and if your connection is unreliable, a text might go through when your calls keep dropping.

Use Whatsapp to send a message of distress with your location

If you are unsure about your location and too stressed to talk, send your location via Whatsapp with a clear message about your emergency.  

Use certified emergency apps

There's a range of mobile apps developed with the purpose of turning your phone into a panic button. They can broadcast your location to emergency partners and command centres. The following apps are worth setting up on your phone before your next road trip:

  1. Casi broadcasts your location to all the nearest responding partners as well as their 24-hour Command Centre that can track you in real time and assist the responder by providing them with all the required information.

  2. mySOS provides access to emergency assistance directly from your phone. Set up contacts to be notified in an emergency, and trigger the panic button in the app to share your location in an emergency.   

  3. Bull Horns Panic Button is a free app that silently alerts your security company and the nearest emergency services of your exact location.

  4. Crash Detech uses movement sensors to detect any unusual impact that you might be involved in. A signal will be sent directly to a response centre and a vehicle will be dispatched to your location.

Have the right tech at hand

Make sure you're equipped with the latest mobile technology when you upgrade with Vodacom. Order your next device on Vodacom Online and get free delivery, free SIM and free connection. 

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