• Feb 24, 2008


A little more than a month after one bloke followed his GPS guidance into the path of a train, we find a lorry driver in Great Britain pulling a similar blunder. Instead of looking outside the cab of the truck and noticing the large sign indicating the road was "unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles," he ignorantly followed the GPS display as it led him down a narrow farm lane. Within minutes, his 45-foot tractor trailer became firmly wedged in the mud and thicket. Needless to say, his trip to carry timber from north Wales to Birmingham was abruptly cut short. The driver's job is likely in jeopardy, but he is thankfully uninjured. The owner of the land, who now has to drive an extra two miles around the detour, is understandably irate.

This isn't a rare occurrence. In November, a Czech truck driver in the U.K. was led off course by his GPS and ended up spending three nights stuck in the woods. And who can forget the Brit who followed his GPS guidance into a river? GPS is a wonderful technology, but it is no substitute for common sense! Thanks for the tip Bobby!

[Source: Engadget]



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  • 14 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whatever happened to actually looking where the hell it is you're going? Technology is cool, but I'll still keep my eyes on the road, thanks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope this guy gets fired for incompetence. Most GPS units have an option to only follow routes safe for trucks. It was his own damn fault. Also, in response to the jab at American common sense, I see way more of these type of incidents with European drivers.

      Like my high school teacher always said when working with calculators "the machine is only as smart as the person using it" and that goes double for GPS units.

      Learn to use your machines or get off the road.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I drive over 100,000 miles per year, and many times, friends ride along on my trips.

      one friend in particular was amazed that I use no navigation system, just carefully planned directions to each destination.

      he was rather insistant that I was "missing something" by not having a navigation system, and he wanted to bring his along, to show me how great it was. I just smiled.

      I followed my planned Fred Flintsone style, old written directions, and he used his much-touted, state-of-the-art navigation.

      my first stop was outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I exited the Turner Turnpike, and continued on a county road. I looked at my friend; he had a blank look on his face. his navigation screen was completely blank and white, with an "X" in the middle. I suspect the "X" was our intended destination, with absolutely no way to get there.

      this same thing was repeated in Illinois and Pennsylvania. the Pennsylvania one was ever funnier, as we didn't even get the "X" in the middle; the screen was just blank.

      perhaps these systems will one day be a supplement to a good map (with the emphasis on "supplement"), but I'm not holding my breath. at this point, they seem like the eight track tape player for the new milenium; very quickly outdated.

      I'll keep my atlas.

      AZMike
        • 6 Years Ago
        call me old school but dont start using a technical aid until you can do it without it.
        otherwise, how can you judge its effectiveness?
        • 6 Years Ago
        AZmike,

        Good for you, and certainly I have no issue with you going "old school" - to each his own I say. But as I read your post, I couldn't stop myself from thinking about that people used to say about computers 10 years ago. It sounded a lot like this.

        It sucks for your buddy that he wound up wasting bread on a cheapo crapbox pretending to be a GPS, but my unit has yet to return astronomically stupid inaccuracies like that. It's been all up and down the east coast with very little issue, so it's really matter of you get what you pay for, same as anything else.

        To be fair, consumer GPS systems have a few bugs to work out, as my experiences have not been flawless. On a couple of occasions, the GPS recommended a turn that was impossible to execute because the map was out of date. Haven't these people learned yet that any decent GPS device worth a damn automatically calculates a new route when you miss a turn? If you can't take a suggestion, the device will find another way to get you to your destination, and yet people are just dumbfounded to learn these devices are engineered to be this way. Blows my mind every time I read a story about some idiot like this. The maps are only as accurate as what government and municipalities provide, and even then, the company digitizing said maps can still screw it up here and there. As with any technology, future solutions will address current limitations - it's only a matter of time and research. There's already development of wirelessly connected GPS systems that can keep maps current at all times, so there's hope yet.

        The problem is that people are relying on these GPS devices entirely as gospel rather than using it as it was intended: as a tool to *assist* with the job. But whatever.. that's the mentality of people, especially behind the wheel; everyone wants everything done for them. You know you're in trouble when there are people out there who are too lazy to think for themselves, and I think your post did a good job of pointing that out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I find it funny that a truck with "Maxi" on the side got stuck...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Proof that Americans don't have a monopoly on lack of common sense.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Doesn't surprise me. My Nav system has ordered me to go the wrong way down a One-Way street more than once. I can understand how someone who is driving late at night and is unfamiliar with the area can make a mistake like this. We still need to understand, however, that all the electronic systems in a modern vehicle (nav included) are not substitutes for an alert and competent driver.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These stories are examples of why we have the annoying lawyer screens when you start up GPS Nav devices.
      Andrew
      • 6 Years Ago
      Haha, just like in the office when he drives his car into a lake because the GPS tells him to
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Andrew
        thats the first thing i thought of too
      • 6 Years Ago
      Regarding the headline: unless you have access to parts of the story we don't, I don't think there's any evidence to call the guy "English" rather than "British". The trucking company is Scottish, for instance.
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