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The Apple Watch Series 8’s crash detection already saved someone’s life

The crash detection feature in Apple Watch Series 8 has passed the test with flying colors — it saved a man’s life by automatically calling first responders his car crashed into a pole.

Nolan Abell of Indianapolis told ABC News that he crashed into a telephone pole when he lost control of his car at 3:30 a.m. on October 15. As he sat in his car seat fighting to stay alive, he said he felt haptic feedback on his wrist and heard a voice from the watch asking if he was there. When he didn’t respond in a timely manner, the watch alerted first responders, who arrived at his location quickly.

Apple Watch Series 8's emergency calling feature.

“If it weren’t for this watch, who knows how long it would’ve been for help to get to me,” Abell said. “Someone would’ve found me eventually, but this had EMS to me within five minutes.”

Abell said he bought the Apple Watch Series 8 at Best Buy on a whim a week before he had his accident. He didn’t have any rhyme or reason to buy the watch, but he said, “something just told me to get it.” That impulse purchase became a blessing in disguise.

APPLE WATCH SAVES LIFE: A man credited his Apple Watch with saving his life by automatically contacting first responders after he slammed his car into a pole. ABC’s Rhiannon Ally reports.

— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) October 28, 2022

Apple introduced the car crash detection feature into the Apple Watch Series 8 as part of the watchOS 9 software update in September. The feature is also used in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models, as well as the Apple Watch Ultra. It detects all types of severe car crashes you may never want to find yourself in: rear-end collisions, side impacts, rollovers, and front-impact crashes like Abell’s, and gives users 20 seconds to respond to the SOS alert before calling EMS on their behalf.

The crash detection feature was a little faulty at first when some iPhone 14 owners reported that their phones triggered 911 calls while they were riding roller coasters.

Cristina Alexander
Cristina Alexander has been writing since 2014, from opining about pop culture on her personal blog in college to reporting…
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