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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Following GPS Into Trouble

Ever participated in or heard of a SAR mission necessitated by a driver blindly following a vehicle GPS device (sometimes called "Sat Nav) into trouble? Here in Arizona, the shortest route to a destination certainly isn't always the best route, with drivers occasionally ending up stranded in remote areas on rough, unpaved roads that sometimes all but disappear into the desert. 

After recently reading the story, Couple Following GPS Unit Stranded For Three Days, I decided to see how many related stories I could find. In about thirty-minutes' time, here's what I came up with, including this video:

Or view the video on YouTube.

Related news articles:

11-Year-Old Boy Dies After Mom Says GPS Left Them Stranded in Death Valley
The mom told rescuers in California's San Bernardino County that her son days after she fixed a flat tire and continued into Death Valley, relying on directions from a GPS device in the vehicle.

GPS Unit Leads Truck Driver Into Train Collision
A Florida big rig driver said his GPS instructed him to take a right turn just before the crossing and continue down the unpaved path.

Couple Gets Stranded After Following GPS "Advice"
It was supposed to be a quick trip to see family for Christmas, but a GPS’ offer of a shorter route left one couple and their young daughter stranded in deep snow in the middle of nowhere.

Road To Nowhere: GPS Leading Some Colorado Drivers Astray
Drivers on their way to Crested Butte are led down an old mining road, which hasn't been maintained since the 1800's. It's impassable in the winter and in the summer.

Sat-Nav Driver's 1,600-Mile Error :
A truck driver programmed his destination--the Rock of Gibraltar--as he left Turkey, but because Gibraltar is technically part of the UK, the device routed him to another Gibraltar – a shore town in England.

Sat Nav Driver's Car Hit By Train :
A 20-year-old's GPS led her to a gate she didn't realize was a railroad crossing.

Sat Nav Dunks Dozy Drivers In Deep Water
Since a road was closed, dozens of UK drivers have followed directions from their satellite navigation systems, not realizing that the recommended route goes through a ford.

GPS Routed Bus Under Bridge, Company Says:
A charter bus driver ferrying a high school softball team relied on a GPS system and didn't notice the clearance signs. The 11-foot high bus plowed into a 9-foot high bridge. 23 people were briefly hospitalized and the bus was destroyed.

Sat Navs Damage 2,000 Bridges Per Year
UK's Network Rail claims 2,000 bridges are hit every year by truck drivers who've been directed along inappropriate roads for their size.

Driver Follows GPS Into Sand :
An 80-year-old blindly follows his GPS into a construction site, and his vehicle gets trapped in sand.

Motorists Switch Sat Nav On, Brain Off :
A German man's GPS system said "turn right now," and he obeyed. He collided with a structure, damaging his car and the structure. He was fined.

£96,000 Merc Written Off As Sat Nav Leads Woman Astray
Following the instructions on her navigation system to use a creek ford, the driver failed to notice it was swelled by torrential rain. The car was swept away and she had to be rescued. The car was a total loss.


Jane Mackay said...

GPS unit, brain not included.

I'm guilty of not thinking things through properly at times (ahem), but I really hope that I would question if a navigation system wanted to send me down a dubious-looking road.

I don't have a GPS unit. I far prefer to use a map and -- primarily -- to pay attention to my surroundings, note street names and major intersections, landmarks and distinct features, so that if I do get lost I am usually able to orient myself before too long.

Deb Lauman said...

Hi, Jane...

I use a handheld GPS when I'm on SAR missions and when just out hiking but definitely not to the exclusion of a paper map (and alternative navigation, like reading terrain, etc.), but I think some folks get tunnel vision or something when they have a gadget like a vehicle GPS system and stop paying attention to the bigger picture. I don't know. But I do notice that many of those who get into pickles (and the reporters who tell the stories) tend to place the blame on the gadget.