ESS Strives to Make Roadside Crashes a Thing of the Past

Roadside crashes happen at an alarming rate every year. Emergency Safety Solutions is trying to reduce these numbers by creating awareness and new technology.

Roadside Crashes
A Girls Guide to Cars Founder Scotty Reiss shared about her childrens' brush with roadside danger. Photo: Liv Leigh

Your Safety in a Roadside Crash is Paramount. Here’s What One Company is Doing to Advocate for You

In the blink of an eye, a happy day on the road can turn into some of our roughest moments. It could be as simple as a flat tire or as serious as a crash (we hope not!), but dealing with those moments is hard enough without all the other motorists still zooming around you, going about their daily lives. Oftentimes, passing cars don’t even slow down when they pass an accident.

These challenges can leave us stranded on the side of the road for hours, every minute in danger of being hit by oncoming traffic.

Then think about this: More than 19,000 people are killed or injured in this very situation each year, which amounts to 1 person every 5 minutes. That means that as many as 8 people could be hit on the roadside while you’re changing your tire.


So, what can we do about it?

Related: A Car Accident Can Change Your Life in a Flash

Emergency Safety Solutions is here to H.E.L.P

Born from Founder David Tucker’s personal near miss when an 18-wheeler almost took him out on the side of the highway in 2014, ESS is trying to make sure that roadside crashes become a thing of the past. Tucker assembled a skilled team of automotive and safety veterans and, through careful, deliberate, and factually-based study, they developed a ground-breaking solution called Hazard Enhanced Location Protocol, or H.E.L.P for short. H.E.L.P. utilizes two technologies to provide a multi-pronged approach to combat this prevalent issue.

Step 1: H.E.L.P. Lighting Alerts

Old-school hazard lights were invented over 70 years ago and have barely been improved upon since. Typical hazards flash once a second. In case of an accident or airbag deployment, H.E.L.P. improves upon this and flashes hazards up to 5 times a second in a scientifically-tuned hazard flash pattern. Seeing this in action on the floor at the Chicago Auto Show immediately grabs your attention and screams caution.

Roadside Crash Prevention

You can really see the impact these hazards would have in a roadside crash in person. Photo: Liv Leigh

Step 2: H.E.L.P. Digital Alerts

Accident alerts on our vehicle navigation are typically submitted by other drivers reporting incidents on their Waze or Google Maps, for example. H.E.L.P. supercharges and automates this by sending an immediate alert to oncoming drivers through their in-vehicle displays and GPS navigation apps to give them advance warning that they’re approaching a disabled vehicle.

So, all of a sudden, you can be assured that your disabled vehicle is more visible to other motorists and that they’ve been warned about your peril already. Thinking about it, it’s kind of crazy this isn’t a thing already, isn’t it?

Related: The Future of Driving: 10 Technologies You Need in your Next Car 

Roadside Crash

Scientifically proven by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to encourage drivers to slow down and move over much sooner than previous hazards. Photo: ESS

H.E.L.P is on the Way to a Car Near You

ESS’s solution is actually already in action in over 1.5 million Teslas on the road in America, and they’re making plans to collaborate with Volkswagen, Stellantis, and multiple other automakers. They’re also working on aftermarket solutions to allow individuals to implement H.E.L.P. into their current vehicle. They’re planning for this to be both an accessory item available for purchase from your auto dealer and up for grabs at an auto supply store. So, Emergency Safety Solutions is addressing what needs to happen on the OEM side of things, but eliminating roadside crash incidents will require a collaborative effort.

In a passionate call-to-action at the Chicago Auto Show, ESS Chief Safety Advocate Andrew Coetzee gathered with A Girls Guide to Cars Founder Scotty Reiss, as well as Former Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Kirk Steudle, and Wiley Deck, VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Plus. They took to the stage to share their personal stories and how we can work together to reduce the number of roadside crashes, hopefully to zero. You can watch the full livestream here.

Related: Tips and Tools for Teen Driver Safety

Roadside Crashes

A Girls Guide to Cars Founder Scotty Reiss shared about her children’s brush with roadside danger. Photo: Liv Leigh

A Flat Tire Can be a Frightening Time

Scotty shared a recent moment when she received a call from her two daughters stranded at the side of the road with a flat tire. For most of us, this may not sound like a big concern, but since Scotty knew the statistics, she knew how dangerous this situation actually was. Scotty’s story highlighted the need for us, as drivers, to become educated about what to do in these situations, how to protect ourselves while we’re dealing with these challenges, how important it is to educate our children on how to keep themselves safe on the side of the road too. She also encouraged drivers to use all the tech available to them. There’s so much useful and advanced technology available to us in our vehicles that can make us safer, and it’s up to us to learn how to use it and get comfortable with it.

Roadside Crash

This team of industry veterans took to the stage at the Chicago Auto Show. Photo: Liv Leigh

The Amount of Deaths from a Roadside Crash Equals a Plane Crash a Day

Kirk vociferously shared about how we all need to work together to make this situation safer. He really hammered home how easy it is to be detached from statistics and how personal this situation is. We, Americans in particular, are in our cars every day. Someone we love could be faced with being stranded at the side of the road, and I’m sure we would all like to ensure that that situation is as safe as possible for our beloveds. These deaths amount to “a plane crash a day,” Kirk said, “We would never tolerate that from planes.” He stated passionately. So why is this acceptable from our cars?

Roadside Crash

The alerts communicate with various navigation platforms. Photo: ESS

Edwin was Changing his Tire When his Life was Changed Instead

It made me think about my friend, Edwin, who was changing his tire on the side of the road when he was struck by a drunk driver. He lost his leg above the knee that day and almost his life. He had been waiting at the side of the road for roadside assistance for an hour before he decided to take matters into his own hands and change the tire himself. Since we now know the grim statistics that 12 people were hit in that same situation just during the time that Edwin was waiting at the side of the road, it’s even more gut-wrenching that he was one of those numbers.

Of course, drunk driving elevates this severity more than anything, and Edwin bravely shared this caution: “Don’t drink and drive. You could end someone’s life or significantly alter someone’s life. Including your own.” Nothing can change the danger of drunk driving, but perhaps H.E.L.P. Lightning Alerts might catch a distracted driver’s attention more. Perhaps the Digital Alerts popup might break through to them. They can certainly only help this dire situation. Soon, I will celebrate Edwin’s “Life Day” (aka the day he survived) with him, but many aren’t even so *lucky* to *walk* away with missing limbs.

Roadside Crash Prevention

Digital Alerts push directly to nearby drivers before they reach the disabled vehicle. Photo: ESS

Roadside Crashes are a Deadly Problem Hiding in Plain Sight

Roadside crashes have been becoming more and more prevalent, with the numbers increasing 23% over 11 years. Using H.E.L.P. has shown a 90% reduction in collision risk and an 80% reduction in hard braking near roadside incidents. So, combining the strategic technology of Emergency Safety Solutions, our own education, and the cooperation of road agencies, law enforcement, and emergency response could help make disabled vehicle crashes a thing of the past.

Learn more about ESS below: (Warning: This video shows footage from road accidents. Source: ESS)

An enthusiastic supporter of everything she’s passionate about, Liv got her first Electric Car and immediately made a YouTube... More about Liv Leigh