Navigation

Hilarious and Scary GPS Fails by “Unaware” Drivers

There’s Nothing Quite Like A Good GPS Fail

Updated November 4, 2018

Satellite navigation is one of those helpful things we simply can’t imagine our life without these days. It’s essential while trying to navigate through a town you haven’t visited before or cruising through unfamiliar part of your own city. Still, even the GPS can go wrong. Coupled with driver’s error, the combination can be fatal. Luckily enough, it usually ends up being just hilarious. At least for us neutrals. I don’t think the faulty GPS-swayed driver finds his/hers newfound situation funny at all. As I said, though, it’s often his/hers fault as much as it is navigation’s fault.

Now, I don’t know what your thoughts on sat nav are, but I personally don’t really like to rely on it when there’s no need. Sure, the maps are being constantly updated, but not all roads get them. This can potentially leave you stranded, and I’m speaking from my personal experience. When you take a look at the unlucky (or unskilled) drivers below, who have had bad experience with the GPS, you’ll figure out why avoiding relying blindly on the satellite navigation is strongly encouraged.

GPS Fail 1

It’s so common that three young women ended up neck deep in Mercer Slough near Seattle after failing to distinguish a road from a boat launch.

GPS Fail 2

Similar thing happened to one Polish van driver who failed to notice several “ROAD CLOSED” signs and ended up in temporary flood-created lake. This is exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the inconsistent GPS updates, especially on secondary importance roads.

GPS Fail 3

If you think that driving into a lake can somehow be justified, what about driving straight into an ocean!? I also figure a lake might be somehow tougher to see in certain situations, but an unending strip of water which melts with the horizon is something you just can’t miss. Well, these Japanese tourists in Australia have managed not to miss it. Kudos to them.

GPS Fail 4

Another reason why blind following the GPS route isn’t recommended are the construction sites. They tend to spawn over night and, of course, your navigation won’t be able to see that. Your eyes, on the other hand, will. Trust them, and they’ll reward you. A thing one 80-year old German driver learned the hard way. To his defense, that happened in October, 2006 when GPS wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is today. But still, ignoring the signs and bashing your Mercedes-Benz in a sand pile in the middle of the road! Come on.

Truck drivers have enough trouble as it is, let alone having to deal with dodgy GPS directions. That’s what’s happened to Steven Ablett, then 47-year old lorry driver from the UK. He followed the navigation directions blindly and ended up stuck (literally) on a narrow country road. Moreover, he had missed his son’s 18th birthday as he had to spend the night in the cab before the help came tomorrow morning.

GPS Fail 5

And, what about this semi stuck on a bike path in Lake Park on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee?

GPS Fail 6

And, what about the wrong turns? Your navigation will confidently tell you to take a turn although there’s something obstructing your way. For all I know, it might just go like this:

Navigation – Take the right turn in 50 yards.
You – But, there’s nothing but a 1,000-feet deep gorge there!
Navigation – Trust me, I know what I’m doing.

You are probably getting what I’m trying to say. Most radical example would be when a group of travelers followed the GPS instructions to the edge of a cliff on a scenic route between the Bryce Canyon, Utah and the Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Then again, there’s the example when one elderly British couple crashed straight into a 19th century church in Germany, causing $37,000 worth of damage.

Or when Robert Jones from Doncaster, UK ended up on a narrow footpath and stopped just in time for the scenic view.

GPS Fail 7

Speaking of scenic routes, Swiss van driver Robert Ziegler has probably had enough of them for a lifetime. He was rescued by a helicopter after he stuck his van in one of numerous Swiss Alps’ goat trails.

GPS Fail 8

One final GPS flaw before we finish. And this one is probably the most annoying of all as it can send you for hundreds of miles in the wrong direction. That’s exactly what happened to the middle-aged Swedish couple on their route to Capri – a beautiful Mediterranean gem of an island just south of Naples. Instead, they ended up in Carpi – an industrial town a few miles due north of Modena and 400 miles off the initial mark.

This, however, wasn’t such a disaster since all Italian renaissance cities are in the vicinity. But a truck driver trying to get to Gibraltar (small British protectorate at the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula) and ending up in Gibraltar Point, UK really takes the cake for the longest GPS fail-caused detour. 1,600 miles of detour, to be more precise.

They aren’t the only ones. Everyone has experienced some GPS difficulties while using the tech. Although I don’t recommend scrapping the GPS completely, I do recommend using it with more awareness. It’s getting better by the day, but it’ll never be perfect. Ancient technique of map and sign reading combined with satellite navigation should be the way to go. Until all of us finally grasp that, both hilarious and scary GPS fail examples like those from the above will continue making the headlines.

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Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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