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iPhone Crash Detection Helps Save Man Submerged in Car

vehicle driving into flood or deep water looking out side mirror

We recently wrote about the new iPhone crash detection feature. That full breakdown can be found on our blog by clicking here

In short, when a severe crash—such as front-impact, side-impact, rear-end collisions and vehicle rollovers— is detected, your iPhone or Apple Watch will sound an alarm and display an alert on the screen. Users will have 20 seconds to dismiss the alert. If they’re unable to respond in time, emergency services will be called, and the device will share your location with a dispatcher.

At the time we discussed how positive this innovation seemed on the surface, but we wanted to wait for real-life examples to truly weigh its impact. While that is still the case as this feature is still relatively new, one recent news story clearly warranted us providing an updated post.

Last month, authorities said a phone’s distress signal helped them rescue a man who had been trapped in a vehicle that landed upside down in a Florida canal. According to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, the 38-year-old was driving down a dark road at around 1 a.m. He swerved to avoid an animal and crashed his vehicle into the murky canal.

“Deputies located the vehicle upside down in the water—based solely on automated longitude and latitude coordinates sent to MCSO dispatchers by the victim’s cell phone,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.

Deputies were then able to pry the car door open and help the man out of the vehicle. The man was shivering from the cold water and taken to a local hospital where he was expected to recover fully.

“It’s technology you may not even realize you have, but this dramatic rescue should remind you of its importance, as well as the importance of sharp dispatchers and brave deputies,” the sheriff’s office added.

The below video is body cam footage provided by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office on their Facebook page.



iPhone Crash Detection – Other Examples

Will we continue to look for real-world examples of this new crash detection feature being used. If any readers have experience with this feature or know of other examples, please share via our Facebook page here.

We did have one user share that he was “hammering a nail into a wall and EMS and three police officers showed up to help. Maybe Apple should condition emergency calls on GPS movement.” While we did not verify this incident, that might be an example of the feature maybe not serving its intended purpose.

However, we see victims in our office every day that have been seriously injured in car accidents and truck accidents. If this feature has false alarms but still can provide help to victims of crashes, I think most people would agree it is still a major positive.




  • Your iPhone reads the crash detection alert in case you can’t see the screen. If you have only your phone, the screen displays an Emergency Call slider and your phone can call emergency services.
  • Your Apple Watch chimes and taps your wrist and checks in with you on the screen. If you have only your watch, the screen displays an Emergency Call slider. If you have a watch with cellular or your watch is connected to Wi-Fi, then it can call emergency services.
  • If you have your iPhone and Apple Watch, the Emergency Call slider appears only on your watch, and the call is connected and the call audio plays from your watch.
  • If you’re able, you can choose to call emergency services or dismiss the alert.
  • If you’re unable to respond, then your device automatically calls emergency services after a 20-second delay.
  • If you’ve added emergency contacts, your device sends a message to share your location and let them know that you’ve been in a severe car crash.
  • If you’ve set up your Medical ID, your device displays a Medical ID slider, so that emergency responders can access your medical information.
  • If the vehicle has its own integrated way to detect a crash and make a call, then that process will proceed without change. Crash Detection won’t cancel any emergency calls already in progress on your iPhone. Crash Detection will cancel ongoing, non-emergency calls on your iPhone or Apple Watch.


MINTZ AND GEFTIC – New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers

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Apple Support Pages- iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro

Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) and Apple Watch Ultra

Martin County Sheriff’s Office Florida

Miami Herald




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