We get these questions all the time about Openroad

March 9, 2021

Many people have questions when we tell them Openroad is a free app that detects car crashes and sends emergency services. It seems almost too good to be true. Is it real? Yes. Does it really work? Yes. Is it really free? Yes. Can I download it from the App Store? Yes.

But then come the deeper questions about how it actually works. To help, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequent questions we see. Let’s get to it!

What happens if I drop my phone? Will it call 911? 

You don’t need to worry about Openroad calling 911 if you drop your phone. We’ve trained Openroad’s crash detection algorithms on thousands of crashes. This is why Openroad is so good at detecting real crashes and filtering out events like phone drops.

That said, let’s look at a hypothetical. Let’s say you drop your phone and Openroad identifies it as a car crash (again, this is highly unlikely). Openroad won’t call 911 right away. We have emergency responders standing by to help you. When Openroad detects a crash, emergency responders call you to see if you need help. If you don’t respond after three calls, we dispatch emergency services to your phone’s location. If someone is unconscious after a crash and can’t answer the phone, we want to get them help as fast as possible.

Our algorithms are always getting smarter, thanks in part to your help. In the rare situation when we detect an event that ultimately wasn’t a car crash, we love hearing from you. We feed this data into our machine learning algorithms, which makes Openroad even better over time.

Do I have to turn Openroad on every time I drive?

Nope! You can download Openroad, set it up, and never open it again (and hopefully never have to use it).

How is this possible?

Your smartphone is essentially a computer with powerful sensors, like the accelerometer (acceleration and braking), gyroscope (orientation in three-dimensional space), magnetometer (magnetic waves), barometer (barometric pressure), GPS (location), and others. The sensors in your phone enable us to understand when you’re driving, detect extreme events like car accidents, and where to send help.

These sensors, combined with advanced on-the-phone processing and machine learning, enables Openroad to protect you on every drive – without you ever lifting a finger.

How is Openroad free? 

We think we can save thousands of lives a year with Openroad, so we’re offering it for free. As far as we know, there is no other free crash detection and emergency response product available. We can make Openroad free because our core business is with large organizations like auto insurers who use the same underlying tech for their own safe driving programs. Our mission has always been to make roads safer for everyone.

If you want to learn more about how we make Openroad free – check out our blog post.

Will Openroad work on a country road or just in the city? 

Openroad works everywhere in the United States where you have a cellular network connection – country roads, city roads, anywhere.

Verizon's 4G and 3G network coverage map of the United States
Map of Verizon's network coverage

Most of the US is covered by voice and data cellular networks. Here is a good guide to see network coverage across the United States.

Will Openroad work on a motorcycle, bicycle, or personal aircraft? 

The Openroad team has worked for several years creating technology that detects car crashes. However, in rare instances, a bike trip, bus trip or a train trip can be classified as a car trip. When there’s a crash event with these different modes of transportation, Openroad might detect it. So while Openroad might detect a crash in a different mode of transportation, you should not rely on it to do so.

How is Openroad different from OnStar? 

OnStar is a great paid subscription service that can detect car crashes using connected car technology and get you help. Openroad is a free app that detects car crashes and gets you help from emergency services. Therefore, Openroad can protect you in any car.

Isn’t this what 911 is for? 

You should always dial 911 immediately if you’re involved in a car crash. However, sometimes this just isn’t possible. We don’t like to talk about worst case scenarios, but they do happen. If you’re unable to use, reach, or find your phone, Openroad emergency responders are able to contact 911 on your behalf.

Our trained responders receive all of the information about your crash, such as the location and severity. They then try to contact you multiple times over the phone. If they are unable to reach you, they contact 911 on your behalf. They provide 911 operators the details they need to dispatch emergency services to your location. 

For those of you who drive on deserted roads or at night, we don’t have to tell you how valuable this peace of mind can be.

Will you track my every move? 

No. In fact, Openroad is asleep most of the time.

The app wakes up when it detects driving. It fires up the sensors and monitors the incoming data for events that look like car crashes. If you’re in a car crash, Openroad sends the location data to our emergency responders, who will contact 911 on your behalf.

When your car trip is over, the app goes back to sleep.

This process is why we need location data to be “Always On.” The app needs to know when you’re driving, if you’ve been in a crash, and where to send help.

Do you sell my data? 

No. We do not sell your data. We are part of an independent private company and we do not serve ads. You can read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy here

Can’t I just use AAA? 

It depends on what you want to do. If you just need a tow truck, sure, you can use AAA.

Openroad detects car crashes and gets you help from emergency responders. They call you to see if you need help. They can also call 911 on your behalf. 

If you don’t need emergency services, our trained responders can also help you get a tow truck. So, no matter what happens, Openroad has your back.

Doesn’t Waze already do this?

Waze is an awesome navigation app. It can alert you about car crashes on your route and help you navigate around them, so you get where you’re going faster.

Openroad is totally different. Openroad detects if you’ve been in a car crash and gets you help from emergency responders. You never have to open Openroad for it to work.

We want to hear from you!

We hope this helps! As always, if you have more questions, just reach out to our team on Facebook or send us an email at hi@getopenroad.app.

Rafi Finegold

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