Drivers across the country are only just discovering a special SOS button that could save your life in an emergency. Find out more about it below:
Let's be honest: is every single driver in the UK au fait with all of the functions of their car? Sure, your driving instructor will teach you what they all mean – but if you're never using them, it's hard to blame someone for forgetting one or two controls.
However, unlike the fan that only blows air at your feet, this function isn't useless at all – in fact, it could save your life.
Four years ago, legislation came into force meaning all new cars and vans must be fitted with an emergency call system known as eCall.
It's a built-in safety feature that is automatically activated if the airbags are deployed, but it can also be activated by the driver or passenger by pressing the eCall SOS button.
This system sends the vehicle's location to a 999 operator and allows people in the vehicle to talk to them. By having precise coordinates, emergency services can attend to them faster – particularly helpful if they're stuck on a long stretch of motorway.
While most people carry a mobile phone, the eCall system provides an alternative if they don't have it with them, can't access it or can't exit their car.
According to National Highways, the button can often be found in the ceiling console by the internal rear-view mirror, behind a pop-out hatch or on the centre console. However, you should refer to your vehicle manual, car manufacturer or an authorised dealership.
Mel Clarke, Customer Services Director at National Highways, said (as per Manchester Evening News): "Safety is our priority at National Highways. The emergency call (eCall) system and its SOS button could save lives and revolutionise road incident response on the roads, yet our research shows that most people do not know about it.
"I urge drivers to check if they have this safety feature installed, particularly if your vehicle was manufactured since April 2018, and to follow our advice about how and when to use it."
While hoping to raise further awareness, the eCall system has seen a drastic rise in correct usage since 2020, increasing from 22 percent to 59 percent this year.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive at Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, also said: "This initiative is vitally important to inform and remind consumers of their cars’ additional safety measures including the ability to call for assistance in times of trouble."
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