Don’t BlindlyTrust Your GPS Device

I don’t have a GPS device. For me, part of the fun of road trips is getting lost; I enjoy navigating unknown cities and long, remote stretches of highways with my trusty Rand McNally. That’s not to say I wouldn’t use a GPS device in conjunction with a paper map — but I wouldn’t rely solely on the satellite navigation system. Case in point: Back in March, the driver of a £96,000 Mercedes relied on her GPS system a little too much and ended up following its directions right into a river.

“The Mercedes SL500 was swept 600 yards downstream, bouncing from one bank of the River Sense to the other as the woman, in her late 20s and from London, frantically tried to escape,” described the Daily Mail. “She was finally rescued by villager Alice Clark when the car ran aground.”

This seems to be happening more and more often. A driver in Italy recently trusted their GPS device’s directions when it advised pulling off the road and onto a train track. Here’s a rather boring video of said car being pushed off of the tracks:

And even when you’re not blindly following incorrect, computer-generated directions, studies have shown that “using GPS while behind the wheel is actually more distracting and less safe than unfolding a paper map and using it to find your way,” reads our sister site Engadget. Thirteen percent of drivers, according to the survey, relied exclusively on their GPS for directions, “rendering them completely oblivious to the world around them.” With numbers that high, I’m surprised we don’t have more people driving into rivers and onto railroad tracks.