Driving tests

Emergency contact details in an accident

In some accidents the victims are rendered unconscious. When emergency services arrive they have to first stabilise the person and once that is done they will need to find out who the next-of-kin is. There are a number of ways of doing this, including using information available about the vehicle from the licence plate, personal documents carried by the driver (e.g. driver’s licence), or information and technology carried by passengers.

Many people have what’s called an ‘in-case of emergency’ or ICE contact in their telephone. Find out how to add it on an iPhone here, or Android here.

A more reliable way is to have a QR code which contains ICE information. Any smartphone with a QR scanner can read the information. A QR code is a square code that can carry encoded information. This could be a paragraph of text, a web address, and so on. In areas where internet coverage is patchy it can supply enough text information to give quite detailed instructions to emergency services, including current medication, medical history, your doctor’s phone number, any allergies you suffer from, and a person to contact in an emergency.

You could make your own QR code using a website such as Go QR – simply enter the text you want to include on your QR code, then print one out for your wallet (laminating it can help keep it readable).

Or you could use a company such a CERQL in the UK who can provide a sticker that can be affixed to your motorbike or cycle helmet. They use a solvent-free, water-based glue to attach a sticker to your helmet (you should still check with your helmet manufacturer whether the glue will be OK, though).

ice helmet sticker

You can scan this code with a QR code reader (free ones are available for smartphones).

When you create your QR code, do some experimentation first. Technically, a QR code can hold up to 4296 alphanumeric characters or, if you need letters with accents and tildes because you are writing in a language other than English, it’ll hold 2953 characters. However, the size of the QR code determines how much information can be fitted into it – smaller codes can’t hold as much. So, it’s a good idea to see if you can limit your characters to 150-200.

The only risk is that if the QR code holds information that makes you too readily identifiable in terms of your personal address, criminals could scan your QR code while you are out and know that you aren’t at home.

driver training

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

Posted in Advice, Motorbike
When was the last time you checked your Road Code knowledge?

Try some tests for free!

Road Code car quiz

Road Code motorbike quiz

Road Code heavy vehicle quiz