I never really thought about what would happen in case of an emergency like a hit and run accident, especially if I feel unconscious. But with an Apple Watch, it may be able to text your emergency contacts and send them your location—just like what happened with a motorcyclist in Singapore.
The motorcyclist, Muhammad Fitri, fell off his bike after colliding with a van. Fitri reported that he saw the van drive off before he lost consciousness—the police confirmed the incident as a hit-and-run.
Fitri also said that his Apple Watch detected a hard fall and promptly sent a message to his emergency contacts—which included his girlfriend. The smartwatch also sent them his location and called for an ambulance.
“My brother was on his way home. He was riding his Bike at the T-Junction and there’s incoming van from the left turning right. The van dashed out and hit my brother exactly inside the yellow box. The mentioned van then left the scene. My brother was then unconscious and luckily his Apple Watch called the ambulance,” wrote his sister on Facebook.
Apple Watch Series 4 and higher include a fall detection feature that is able to notify an emergency contact and local emergency services if you become unresponsive after a fall is detected. It will first give you a short period of time to respond to the fall alert—but if you’re knocked out or not in a condition to dismiss the alert, the watch calls for rescue.
How to enable the Fall Detection feature on your Apple Watch if you haven’t
After making sure that you have the right Apple Watch (it doesn’t work for Watches 3 or lower), visit the Health app—where you’ll be able to see a “Health Checklist” if you haven’t looked through it yet. The checklist gives you a list of features that you might not have enabled yet, including the “Fall Detection” option.
Once you enable the “Fall Detection” feature, you’ll be informed that your Apple Watch will “notify you before calling emergency services” if a hard fall is detected. They also say that it “cannot detect all falls”, and that the more physically active you are, the more likely you’ll be able to trigger Fall Detection due to high-impact activity that can appear to be a fall.
To check on who your emergency contact is, go to your Medical ID profile on the Health app. Your contact information should be under your other information like allergies and blood type.
Besides your Watch being able to automatically call emergency services in case of an accident, you can also manually contact them on the Watch by holding your Watch’s side button (underneath the digital crown) until the Emergency SOS button appears. You can then drag the Emergency SOS slider to start the call immediately. Alternatively, you can keep holding the side button until your watch calls emergency services automatically.
Other smartwatches, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch, have the same function. If a fall is detected, the Galaxy Watch will show an alert on the screen which allows the user to get help with a single tap.