State-by-State Cellphone Highway Emergency Assistance
More often than not, you’re likely to hear about cellphones causing accidents and distraction drivers. However, having a cellphone handy while you’re driving can also provide some immense benefits, especially in an emergency situation. Different states have different methods you can use during a highway emergency assistance scenario so it’s important to be familiar with some of the most common ones, particularly if you’re a frequent road-tripper that is looking to add an extra level of preparedness to your travels.
Should you dial 911?
If you’re in an emergency situation, chances are your first instincts are to dial the most common emergency services number: 911. While this often works out pretty well, there are times in which you might have difficulty reaching a police line. In certain jurisdictions, 911 operators receive incredibly high volumes of inbound calls which can delay your chance of reaching a live human.
If you’re dealing with a situation that would benefit from police action but doesn’t directly qualify as an emergency, you may want to look and see whether or not the state your in has a cellphone-only number that you can dial. These numbers are useful for reporting problems such as vehicle breakdowns, accidents, hazardous material spills, and more.
Keep in mind that many states still rely exclusively on 911 so that may be your only option, depending on where you’re traveling. States that rely on 911 include Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington State, and Wisconsin.
If you’re directly involved in an emergency situation, however, you may not want to rely on the non-emergency lines as this can cause mixups with the operators and make it more difficult for police to respond to the scene. In particular, if you’ve been in a crash and are unsure of what to do after a car accident, dialing 911 is a safe bet.
The responding officer will be able to inform you what steps you need to take, help you move your vehicle out of a highway lane, and take statements from you and any other parties involved. It’s also incredibly important to take detailed photos, especially if the accident occurred outside of your state of residence. Usually, many insurance agencies are capable of working well across state lines but the more documentation you have, the better.
What if your phone is damaged in an accident?
This is where things can get a bit more tricky. If an accident damages your phone and renders you unable to take photos or contact emergency services. If you’re traveling through, say, Alabama and happen to be near a major metro, you may be able to get your iPhone repaired in Birmingham. uBreakiFix is located in Trussville at 1423 Gadsden Hwy #117 Birmingham, AL 35235, and their phone number is (205) 661-0299.
If this is the case, you’ll either need to rely on the other party involved in the accident or try to flag down a passing car for assistance. With any luck, you’ll be passed by a state patrol officer who will likely stop to assist you with both your vehicle and with contacting your family or loved ones.
If your vehicle is still operable or you’re not dealing with a pressing emergency, it’s in your best interest to drive to the nearest state patrol outpost. These are typically clearly demarcated along the highway and often have signs pointing them out.
Having to rely on cellphone emergency highway services can be overwhelming if you’re dealing with the shock that tends to follow after an accident. If you’re in an emergency situation, try your best to calm down and think rationally about your next steps. It can make a great difference in the long run.
Every time I’ve been in an accident, they’ve thankfully been small ones. Still, I was always shaken up, so it would be good to think about what you would do in the event of one before you get in one. This is good advice.