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Use location services for safer travels

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The Easter weekend is upon us, which will see thousands of South Africans taking to the roads. JACQUES SWANEPOEL points out some location based services that will help travellers get to their destination more safely and conveniently.

If you’re one of the millions of South Africans taking to the roads for the Easter holidays, keep in mind that there are a range of mobile location-based services (LBS) that can help you travel more safely and conveniently to your destination.

These services can quickly connect you to help in the event of an accident as well as keep you in touch with friends and family while you’re on the road. Such services are especially practical if you are travelling at night, need to make an unavoidable trip through a dangerous area, or are embarking on a long journey.

South Africa’s road accident rates always soar over the holidays, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of the technologies and services available to make your journey safer. These services can be a lifesaver, given the unpredictability that weather, poorly maintained roads, dangerous drivers, and other risks bring to your journey on your way to your holiday destination.

Some examples of LBS for safer travel that anyone can use on any cell phone for an affordable monthly fee include:

MTN 2MyAid and Vodacom look 4 help: These services turn your cell phone into a panic button, summoning help when you need it most. With the press of an assigned speed dial, your location is established and the information is sent via SMS to four pre-determined emergency contacts. Your friends and family will know that you’re in trouble and where you are, and are thus able to get help to you fast.

MTN WhereRU and Vodacom look 4 me: These services allow you to track your loved ones using your cellphone, anytime, day or night by using the cellular network to find the position of a cellphone user you want to locate. You can locate up to 10 consenting people via SMS, USSD or the Internet. You can receive details of their location by SMS or on an MMS map.

Cellfind offers the following additional tips for safe driving with your cell phone this Easter:

· Ensure that your cell phone battery is fully charged before embarking on your journey and consider investing in a car charger

¬∑ Install a hands-free car kit or buy an earpiece so that you can talk safely on your phone while you’re driving

¬∑ Keep your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off if not in use in order to conserve your battery while travelling

· Use GPS Рwhether a dedicated device or GPS software for your cell phone Рplan your route for long or unfamiliar destinations.

Visit http://www.look4me.co.za/ to learn more about Vodacom look4me

Visit http://www.look4help.co.za/ to learn more about Vodacom look4help

Visit http://www.mtnwhereru.co.za/ to learn more about MTN WhereRU

Visit http://www.mtn2myaid.co.za/ to learn more about MTN 2MyAid

* Jacques Swanepoel is the MD of Cellfind

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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