The H.E.L.P. Drivers Need Until Help Arrives

Most of us have been there… stranded on the side of a highway with a flat tire or empty gas tank while traffic zooms by. Unfortunately for some, what started as an inconvenience often leads to tragedy.

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A Deadly, Growing and Preventable Safety Problem

Every seven minutes, a disabled vehicle is struck by an oncoming driver on U.S. roadways. These crashes have become all too common, with devastating results: Nearly 72,000 people affected each year, and 15,000 killed or injured. These deaths and injuries translate into a societal cost of nearly $9 billion.

These preventable tragedies happen because oncoming drivers don’t see disabled vehicles until it’s too late to react. Minor issues like flat tires, fender benders or engine trouble put occupants and good samaritans at great risk of being struck by passing traffic.

It’s a risk that’s growing each year. Recent studies show a nearly 10% annual increase in these types of accidents.

U.S. Disabled Vehicle Crash Statistics Since ESS Inception in October 2018

victims involved
injured or killed
Billion dollars of economic impact
people involved per day

Long Overdue Solution

Hazard lights – which serve as the only available warning beacon for disabled vehicles – were invented in 1951 and have not changed since. That’s seventy years without innovation, and studies show the rate of deaths and injuries is getting worse every year.

Driver behavior is part of the problem. But the single greatest reason for these tragedies is our reliance on last-century equipment that does not effectively communicate with other drivers and vehicles.

Emergency Safety Solutions (ESS) is working to eliminate disabled vehicle crashes with its new intelligent emergency communications feature for stationary, distressed vehicles called the “Hazard Enhanced Lighting Package,” or H.E.L.P. for short.

The regulatory compliant H.E.L.P. solution provides two forms of highly effective communication to make your disabled vehicle more visible: (1) highly conspicuous emergency-based lighting output, and (2) digital notifications sent to oncoming vehicles via GPS-based mapping applications.

These features deliver advanced warning to oncoming traffic -- giving approaching drivers minutes, not just milliseconds, to more safely respond to the disabled vehicle.

The Science Behind Our Solution

Human Factors Science

The effectiveness of visual clarity is driven by an optimized combination of flash rate, light volume, color and intensity.

Within Visual Range

Dozens of empirical Human Factors studies conclude that driver perception improves with higher emergency hazard light flash rates. For example, a recent study at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that higher-frequency flash rates dramatically increase perception of urgency. The graph displays flash frequency against three dimensions of visual clarity – discomfort glare, annoyance and urgency. This finding is reinforced by studies conducted by NASA’s Ames Research Center.

Beyond Line of Sight

In addition to providing a long-range visible beacon to oncoming drivers, ESS H.E.L.P. also deploys a digital signal upon activation of the hazard lights.

That signal is detected by emergency information systems and retail navigation applications, alerting all other drivers who are running a navigation application that there is a hazard ahead.

This visual and digital alert system provides drivers with plenty of advanced warning to avoid disabled vehicles on the road ahead, and will safeguard the lives of those in the disabled vehicles.

Voices of Victims and Their Families

The true cost of crashes involving disabled vehicles can be devastating. When these crashes lead to fatalities, they rob us of our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, spouses, grandparents, friends and more.

Meet some of the people behind the statistics.

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