Little-known Pixel 4 feature saved an unconscious man from his overturned vehicle

Car crash detection on the Pixel 4 XL
Car crash detection on the Pixel 4 XL (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Chuck Walker recalls being saved by his Pixel 4 XL after his vehicle was overturned in a ravine.
  • His Pixel phone activated its crash detection feature and called for emergency services.
  • Walker turned on the crash detection feature just weeks before his accident.

The Google Pixel 4 XL is one of the best Android phones to come out of 2019, and more than a year later, it continues to prove its worth. A user on Reddit by the name of Chuck Walker shared his experience of being saved by his Pixel 4 XL after he was involved in an accident that left him unconscious.

According to Walker, his vehicle rolled off an embankment and was left upside down in a ravine. His phone was thrown somewhere out of reach.

I have no recollection of how the accident happened. I just remember waking up in horrible pain struggling to breathe....I yelled for help knowing it was futile when I heard a voice coming from the one earbud that managed to stay in place. To my surprise, it was an emergency dispatcher! He told me that help was on the way and they had already contacted my wife.

Despite his phone being out of reach, his Pixel 4 XL activated crash detection, a feature Google introduced when it launched the smartphone. The Pixel uses location, motion sensors, and ambient noise to determine whether an accident has occurred. The device then sounds an alarm to ensure the owner is okay. If the owner doesn't respond to the on-screen prompt, the device will automatically contact emergency services and provide them with their location.

Source: Android Central

Walker recalls turning the feature on just weeks prior, which apparently was the right call. Since he was not expected to return home for a few more hours that day, he could have been stuck there for some time before anyone thought of searching for him. "I'm confident I would have survived, but I would have been hypothermic by the time I was found," he told Android Police. He also worried about a possible fire after he smelled diesel fuel leaking from his overturned vehicle.

Chuck Walker Overturned Boobcat

Source: Reddit A photo of the scene the day after the accident. (Image credit: Source: Reddit)

As a result of the accident, he ended up suffering from several broken bones ― 7 ribs and 4 thoracic vertebrae. Three months later, Walker states that he has fully recovered.

This is only one instance showing just how vital a feature like crash detection really is. Unfortunately, it's only available on Google Pixel phones in the U.S., UK, and Australia. Hopefully, more Android phones will be able to take advantage of this life-saving feature at some point. For owners of Pixel smartphones, we have a handy guide on how to enable car crash detection on the Pixel.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.