To date, I haven't been in a serious traffic accident. I am happy to say that the worst I've ever been involved in is a few minor fender-benders. Others in my family have not been so lucky. My daughter, for instance, had her car rear-ended while she sat at a stoplight. She was shaken, but uninjured. The car, however, didn't fair so well. It was totaled.
Just recently my wife's car was also rear-ended. She was also stopped in traffic when the offending vehicle hit her. We believe the driver was distracted. How else would you explain running into a car ahead of you at the posted speed limit?
Distracted while driving has become a serious matter. According to the FCC, the accident you cause while texting can be 23 worse than if you weren't.
With the proliferation of smart phones, especially the quasi-tablet phones from Samsung and others, the chance of you being involved in a traffic accident has increased dramatically, even if you are careful and don't text while driving.
Ironically, the device that may increase your chances of being in a door-dunch or worse is also what you should have around when it does happen, especially if you've loaded one of the following free apps designed to help you when bad things happen out on the road.
Please be aware that I haven't throughly examined two of the three app I'm pointing out today, and even the one I have used I haven't had an opportunity to fully examine because I've haven't needed it, which is a good thing, I guess.
Anyway, if you've had more experience with any of these or other accident apps please comment. Now, let's get to it.
Car Accident Report [964 KB, all iOS devices, iOS 3.0 or later, Developer: Billy Yuen]
Simple interface makes Car Accident Report a breeze to use.
I've had this one on my phone the longest and it's the least intrusive of the three. Car Accident Report it likely all you'll need in the event of a highway mishap.
You complete some basic info about you, your car, and your insurance policy, then wait until you need it. When you do is when the app shines.
Useful info pops up when you need it most.
When you're in an accident you are at the very least shaken a bit. Just fire up this app and everything you need to gather info about the incident is there at your fingertips. You can take witness statements, shoot photos of the damage and the area where it happened, include drawings of the scene, list passengers, who's injured, and so on. Once you've gathered all the info you can then let the app compose a report for you that you can send to your insurer or anyone who needs it.
Big icons and text are great for shaky hands and bleary eyes
The app stores your reports on your phone for later perusal and updates. Hopefully you won't have too many of them.
What I really like about this app is that there nothing for you to log into, no service to subscribe to, and no ads. This is one app every driver should have on his or her phone.
Car Accident Sidekick [2.6 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 3.1.2 or later, Developer: BISNAR and CHASE LLP]
Car Accident Sidekick give you an account to store your info
As I mentioned earlier, I really haven't had a chance to dig into this app, but it looks pretty nice. You have to register and provide all your personal info which presumably is stored in a server somewhere. That can be good in case your phone becomes a victim of the accident you're in.
There's a form you can complete with details of the incident, which you can, of course, send off to your insurance provider or others. What Car Accident Sidekick does do is provide quick access to things or people you may needs in the event of an accident. You have one-button 911 calling, lawyer numbers, even a flashlight.
Lots of tools to help in trying times.
The report seems pretty comprehensive, and the whole app is fairly simple to use. Make sure you fill out your info as soon as you can. It defeats the purpose of having this or any of these apps if you have to search for your particulars right after you've had a crash.
Anyway, Car Accident Sidekick appears to be a capable app.
Accident Wizard [2.7 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 4.0 or later, Developer: Platinum Peak LLC]
Why not just hit the red button?
Again, I haven't looked too deeply, but this app adds a bit of something special that, at first blush, seems like a good idea, according to the app details there's a free to use accident help line available. I have to say that I'm a bit leery of any free service provided by some unknown entity during a time of crisis. A person may not be thinking clearly and there's no telling what's the agenda of the person on the other side of that "Help" line. You have to read through and accept an agreement before you can use the app. I strongly suggest you read it carefully, especially the User Generated Content section which seems to indicate that Platinum Peak LLC, the creator of the app, can do what they want with your info.
As you can see from the screen shot, the Help Line button is bigger than the 911 button. That bothers me even more. In an emergency you what to talk to someone who can help immediately, not some intermediary who may not have your interest a priority.
READ THIS CAREFULLY bvefore using this app
I called the help line, to my surprise they had all the information I chose to complete in the app and they put it in a database somewhere. While the person on the line was kind, and apparently wanted to help, I came away feeling somewhat exposed. I then called Platinum Peak directly and the woman who answered sounded mysteriously similar to the woman who answered the help line though I was told it was a "different department".
I asked about the service and indeed they do upload information from the app. I asked if I decided to not use the app how would I get remove my info from their database. I was told that you just delete the app. Not a good answer. I have no account that I can control, no password protecting my information, and a dubious answers about how my info is managed.
Normally, in this column I recommend apps, music and such and I don't mention apps that may not be of the best quality or purpose, but I'm going to go out on a limb recommend that if you intend to use this app READ THE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY, otherwise I'd steer clear of Accident Wizard for the reasons I've mentioned.
OK, that's a wrap for this week. Fans of cute games be sure to check out this week's free App of the Week, Pudding Monsters HD. The name speaks for itself.