Google puts the value on its smartphones on software, not hardware, through special features. One of the most interesting features on Pixel phones is Car Crash Detection, and for one man, the feature saved him from being trapped in heavy machinery for hours.
A Reddit user (u/postnospam) by the name of Chuck Walker posted about his experience with Car Crash Detection on his Pixel phone, but it wasn’t actually in a car accident. Rather, Walker was in a late-November accident on his property in Missouri with a Bobcat loader. The heavy machinery rolled off of a ledge and fell into a small ravine, landing upside down (pictured below) with Walker stuck and injured inside of the Bobcat, the emergency exit blocked, and the main exit partially blocked, too. He reports having seven broken ribs and four broken thoracic vertebrae (center spine).
Luckily, his Pixel 4 XL came to the rescue with Car Crash Detection. Even though the phone was thrown out of reach during the accident, the event was enough to trigger Car Crash Detection, and since the user was unconscious following the fall, the phone contacted 911. When the user woke up, he yelled for help, only to hear through his Bluetooth earbud that an emergency dispatcher was connected and speaking with him. That dispatcher had already sent rescue services to his location, and minutes later, Southern Platte Fire Protection District first responders were assisting him out of the wreckage. Walker says that, as a former paramedic, he knew his injuries weren’t immediately life-threatening, but he did require weeks of recovery from the broken bones.
If Car Crash Detection had not been enabled on the phone, Walker would have been waiting for help for a while. He says that the accident took place “deep” in his private property, and no one was expecting to see him “for hours.” By the time he may have been found, he says he may have been suffering from hypothermia, but he was also worried about the potential of fire from leaking fuel.
Instead, his Pixel had emergency services at his location within minutes, doing most of the work while he was unconscious too.
If you own a Pixel smartphone, you can turn this feature on for yourself. To do so, look for the “Safety” app, and in that app’s settings, you’ll see an option for “Car Crash Detection.” It’s disabled by default, but it’s a feature you should absolutely turn on. Car Crash detection was originally exclusive to Pixel 4 but has since expanded to Pixel 3 and is also supported on Pixel 5, 4a, and 4a 5G.
Do note that Car Crash Detection and the Pixel Safety app in general do require several permissions, such as location and microphone. Walker says he doesn’t “like giving up privacy to tech,” but even though he never expected to need this feature, the “reward outweighed the downside.”
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