WatchOut Frequently Asked Questions

WatchOut Frequently Asked Questions2018-07-28T09:19:15-07:00
What locations are currently supported?2020-07-19T15:35:35-07:00

We have basic coverage for all 50 states in the USA. Our enhanced coverage currently includes the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wyoming

Contact us if you have questions about additional coverage areas.

What are common causes of crashes that WatchOut will alert me to?2020-07-19T15:36:37-07:00

WatchOut categorizes crashes by the primary cause. We have many categories and are continuing to expand our list. Here are a few:

  • Left/Right Curve
  • Slowing Traffic
  • Merging Traffic
  • Low Bridge
  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Children
  • Parking Cars
  • Irregular Intersection
  • Deer Crossing
  • Embankment
  • Hill
  • Traffic Island
  • Curb
  • Fallen Rocks
What does a weather icon next to a hazard mean?2020-07-19T15:34:49-07:00

WatchOut uses weather when determining if it should alert you to a hazard. Some hazards are weather specific, meaning they are dangerous during certain weather conditions such as snow, fog, or rain. Imagine a curve on a highway that is dangerous when it’s covered with snow, but otherwise relatively safe. The weather icon over a hazard indicates which weather condition it’s dangerous in. If there is no weather icon, then the hazard is not impacted by the weather. When driving, weather specific hazards are only active when current road and weather conditions match those that make it dangerous.


Can I use WatchOut with my navigation app?2020-07-19T15:47:36-07:00

Yes you can! First start WatchOut, then activate driving mode with the play button, then launch your navigation app. WatchOut will run in the background providing voice alerts while your navigation app guides you.

I see too many hazards, what should I do?2020-07-19T15:44:57-07:00

Open the options menu using the icon in the bottom right. Adjust the “How Many Hazards” slider to the left to filter to fewer, higher ranked hazards.

I don’t see any hazards on the map, what should I do?2020-07-19T15:44:21-07:00

First, make sure your device has an internet connection. You should see an error such as “Can’t contact server” if the app is having problems talking to the server. Second, check the list of supported locations available on this page and make sure that your location is currently supported. If it is, go to the options menu using the icon in the bottom right and adjust the “How Many Hazards” slider to the right to show more hazards. Finally if you still don’t see any hazards, you may live in an area with so few crashes that we can’t identify any patterns. Try zooming out to explore another location.

In driving mode I don’t see as many hazards as I do in explore mode, why not?2020-07-19T15:41:59-07:00

That is correct. Driving mode filters all available hazards down to only those that are “active” meaning that they are relevant right now. This is done using live traffic and weather data, the times crashes occur at the location, as well as the cause of the crashes. For example, some hazards such as sharp curves in a road will be visible all the time. Others such as slowing traffic, are really only relevant during peak traffic periods. Still others such as deer crossings have a seasonal aspect as well as simply a time of day and day of the week. All of these are factored in to driving mode to provide you only relevant hazards.

In driving mode, sometimes hazards appear on the map but don’t trigger an alert when I pass over them, why not?2020-07-19T15:39:48-07:00

Hazards trigger alerts in driving mode when the system believes that activating the alert is valuable. Alert activation is sensitive to driving dynamics such as speed, acceleration, braking, and turning rate. For example it may not activate if you are traveling too slowly for the alert to be relevant or so fast that it is unlikely the alert would apply based on traffic conditions. To minimize distraction alert activation is also sensitive to factors such as are you too close to the hazard and have you recently received the same alert message. If you believe you have encountered a situation where an alert should have triggered but did not, feel free to contact us.

What does the “Reload” button next to Reload Hazards do in the options menu?2020-07-19T15:37:44-07:00

The WatchOut app stores data it retrieves from the server on your device in what’s commonly referred to as a “cache”. This enables the app to work faster because it doesn’t have to ask the server for the same information over and over again. It should not be necessary to use this button since the app and server should always be in sync, but if the app is not showing hazards on the explore map as it should, you can press the “Reload” button which will force the app to get data from the server again.

I don’t drive, is this app still helpful to me?2020-07-19T15:46:52-07:00

Absolutely. One of the biggest fears of most cyclists is getting in an accident with a car. Go to the options menu using the icon in the bottom right and choose “Cycling” as your activity type. This tells the app to only show hazards relevant to cyclists. Similarly, there is a “Walking” activity type for those who walk a lot in urban areas. You may also get some peace of mind from knowing that drivers who use WatchOut will get alerts warning them of areas where there are cyclist or pedestrian collisions so that they can be more careful.

What devices do you support?2018-09-24T23:09:37-07:00

The initial version of WatchOut supports iOS devices including iPhones and iPads. If you would like to see WatchOut on another device please let us know.

More Questions? Contact Us