If you’re like me, when you first decided to get a cell phone, you justified the added expense by telling yourself it would be convenient if you ever found yourself stranded in an emergency situation. However, over time it has become less of an emergency device and more of a social connection. Emergencies and accidents happen, even to the best of us and not everyone has car safety devices, such as On Star, built into their vehicles. So will you be prepared if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need assistance? Before you get back in your car, you may consider programming the following numbers into your cell phone, just in case.
ICE Number – Most of us have received the email. What would happen if you were in an accident and were unable to respond to emergency personnel? How would they know who to call? Putting ICE in front of your chosen emergency contact will enable responders to contact the person of your choice so they could be notified of a serious injury, and in turn let the emergency responder know any information that should be known about you, for instance if you have allergies or are on any medications.
Shortly after this email started circulating, another followed in its wake claiming that these ICE numbers left your phone vulnerable to viruses. According to snopes.com, this is completely false and a new wave of urban legend. It is perfectly safe to store an ICE number in your phone, and it may be a time saver in a critical situation where time is of the essence.
State Law Enforcement – There are several scenarios where this may come in handy – you’re in an accident, you have vehicle problems, you see an impaired driver or you end up behind someone who is recklessly driving and is endangering other drivers. In most states, 9-1-1 can be used. For a list of acceptable phone numbers in your state, visit http://www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2003_n_before/emergency_cell.htm or check your local phone book for the appropriate phone number.
24 Hour Tow Service/Roadside Assistance – Consider this scenario – its late at night, and you suddenly develop a flat tire, lock your keys in the car, your car stalls and won’t start, or you hit a deer and it damages your vehicle enough to leave it inoperable. Who will you call? If you have this number stored in your phone, it is your direct link to help being on the way. Some major cell phone providers and insurance providers offer free roadside assistance in their plans. If you have it, store the phone number that they provide. If not, you may consider purchasing it for the peace of mind. If you don’t have this available, find a 24 hour tow truck service in your area and program that number in. This also enables you to shop around for the best prices before you’re in a situation where you’ll take whoever you can get.
Insurance Company – If you are in an accident, do you know what you need to do? Do you know if you have rental car reimbursement? Do you know if your policy covers towing? And if you do, do you know what you need to do to go about getting the paperwork started to get you back on the road as quickly as possible? One more question…do you have your insurance provider’s phone number memorized? If not, having this number stored could also be a time saver and a source of much needed information to set your mind at ease.
Family Physician – What happens if you’re on a family outing and you or a family member has a mishap…a broken limb or a possible concussion. Do you know your physician’s number? This number is especially important if your medical insurance requires a referral by your family physician before taking them in for emergency care.
Veterinarian Hospital – This may not be a necessity for everyone, but if you have pets or are an animal lover, consider what you would do if your family pet got hit by a car, or you accidentally hit someone else’s pet, or see another driver who does and didn’t stop. Its heartbreaking to watch an injured animal. Having this number in your phone will allow you to gather up the pet and be on your way immediately to get it the help it needs and you can contact the animal hospital and let them know you’re on the way, and what happened so they can be prepared for your arrival.
If you have children who have use of a car and/or cell phones these numbers programmed into their phones will equal even more peace of mind for you. Its better to have them in your phone and never need them than to need them and not have them…be prepared. As always, be aware of laws regarding cell phone usage while driving in your state and surrounding states.