SMS My Ride Lets You Warn Other Drivers

SMS My Ride Lets You Warn Other Drivers
TicketParkingNeed to notify another driver that they’ve blocked your car in, left their car lights on, or are about to get busted by a parking inspector? SMS My Ride lets you send a text to another driver using only their licence plate number.

Picture by lonelyradio

Last month, we featured Your Lights Are On!, a service which let you notify a driver if their lights have been left on simply by noting their plate number and sending it in an SMS to a dedicated number. SMS My Ride is from the same developers and uses the same logic, but with a wider range of options you can select by adding a keyword to the message, as the site explains:

* LIGHTS: You left your lights on * BLOCK: You’re blocking me in * PARK: Your parking meter has expired (or there’s an inspector nearby!) * DANGER: I think someone might be breaking in to your car

As with the previous service, the effectiveness will largely depend on how many people register, but the expansion from just doing lights notification (which, as commenters pointed out, is handled in modern cars with warning beeps or similar options) to other issues is a nifty idea. It’s also sensible that all those options involve stationery cars, so there’s no danger of being accused of inappropriate use of a mobile phone while driving. SMS My Ride is free, requires registration.

SMS My Ride


  • As with “Your Lights Are On”, this service is doomed to fail. It only works if (a) you have signed up, (b) the person seeing my car knows of the service, and (c) cares enough to spend the 20c on an SMS. Combine all these things and it becoms clear that while they might get a bunch of people signing up, those people are n.e.v.e.r. going to get a single SMS, and those that do send an SMS will quickly tire of doing so. Some suggestions:

    1) Give away a free bumper sticker promoting the service to everyone who registers
    2) Send a “thank you” SMS to senders. Send a different message depending on whether the vehicle owner has registered or not.

    Frankly, if the developers of this service hadn’t thought of these things already, then they’re simply not clever enough to make this thing work.

    • Hey John,

      We basically just chucked this service together because we could do it easily and if it works it works, if not it doesn’t.

      Bumper stickers are a pretty good idea, but I would see this more as a means of generating revenue than promoting the service. We’re already paying for the cost of the notification SMS’ and not making any money from it, so adding more costs at this stage would not be very clever at all, now would it?

      Replying to the notifiers SMS sort of goes in the same category as it would more or less double the cost of providing the notifications… however, if people actually start wanting to use the service then we could certainly work out a revenue model without being EVIL SPAMMERS, maybe a gift shop for good samaritans?

      But for the moment we’re content to see what people have to say; what ideas pop up about how it could work and whether it gains any significant attention. Perhaps it is doomed to failure after all! How will we sleep at night?!?

  • I like the concept, but I can’t see it working either. I’m sure I’m not the only one wary about giving out my phone number like this (despite their privacy policy). If I saw parking inspectors roaming around, I’m not going to SMS every number plate on that street at a cost of 25c each (unless the vehicles belonged to family/friends/people I know). Even if I was bothered to send an SMS, the likelihood of the vehicle’s owner being signed up to this service is slim to none.

    And vehicles these days either turn lights off automatically after the keys are taken out, or make an impossible-to-ignore screeching noise if you forget to turn off your lights.

    It would work if it was like, an automated process where cameras detected the foul stench of thieves/parking inspectors lurking nearby and sent SMS messages out to everyone in a 100m radius.

    • Elly, I love your stench based criminal detection idea … do you already have a patent on that? Let’s do lunch … But seriously folks, I doubt I would SMS a bunch of cars if I saw a parking inspector around either! But if I noticed one car park across a driveway with it’s hazard lights on and THEN saw a parking inspector? Hmmm I might send just that one message 🙂

      • Iain,

        If someone was an arsehole and parked across a driveway and thought that putting their hazard lights on somehow made it Ok – then they should get a parking ticket. That’s the exact reason why I love parking inspectors.

        In fact, if I was in charge of the road rules, I would confiscate their car and have them shot !!!

  • I tried this service. i signed up used all my correct details and then thought I’d see if it works. Using a different phone I sent the danger message. Well over a week later now still no notice letting me know my car is in danger. So glad I’m not rrelying on this service for anything

    • Hi all, it’s been a while … firstly:

      I’ve added in the ability to use SMS My Ride without registration to simply record when you get a lift with someone you don’t know (hitchiking, taxi, getting a lift home from a party etc. etc. etc):

      This idea popped into my head the other day so I figured I’d dust off the old domain and chuck it up there … let me know what you think either by email on [email protected] or


      @Bryan sorry I didn’t catch this earlier but I don’t have *any* inbound records for “DANGER” – are you sure you sent this message to the right number? There’s also the issue that if you didn’t enter a verification code when you registered, you will never be notified. If you’re interested in helping me figure out any potential problems please email on [email protected] OR you can tweet @smsmyride. Thanks for trying it out!

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