Driver Goes Off a Ramp After Following GPS Navigation on Closed Bridge

The car went off the ramp 15 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/WKBN
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Drivers keep thinking that navigation apps, be they Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, or other software, know better than road signs. They put their trust into everything these apps say, following their directions blindly even if the road ahead doesn't look right.
A Howland, Ohio, driver learned an important lesson about how navigation apps should be used. The man followed the sat-nav in a construction area, but the system didn't know the authorities had put new restrictions in place.

The driver ignored the traffic signs (or probably didn't even look for them in the first place) and followed the turn-by-turn guidance on the screen. It ended up with the car going off a ramp and over a median when the man entered a closed bridge.

The driver was alone in the car and suffered no injuries, but the police warned that we must all pay attention to traffic signs and what lies ahead on the road. Don't always focus on the sat-nav, as these applications can't be 100% accurate!

The police are right. Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps are fantastic apps that make every second behind the wheel safer and more convenient because they help us find a destination faster, but they aren't always right.

The difference is made by ad-hoc traffic changes sometimes required by accidents or roadworks. Authorities could divert traffic, close roads, and set new restrictions overnight, sometimes even temporarily, so these applications can't always be up-to-date with what happens on the road. Waze relies on a crowdsourcing engine to keep its maps more accurate, so all changes typically appear on the map faster, but a map editor still has to make the edits before everybody else sees them.

Not paying attention to the road ahead can have serious consequences. Map errors in Google Maps recently sent a bunch of drivers on city steps in multiple locations worldwide, including in Edinburgh (three drivers in approximately one month getting stuck in the same place) and in India. A Toyota SUV driver got the vehicle stuck on city steps just earlier this week after following Google Maps. The application allegedly told them to make a turn on the steps, so he did, as he believed this was the route he had to use.

The vehicle could not go any further, so he waited for the police to get him out.

Google typically corrects these errors very fast, but the police say it's better to use common sense to prevent these ridiculous and sometimes dangerous blunders. If something doesn't look right, pay attention to road signs. If they're missing, you'd better not use the route and stick with a road you're familiar with, especially if the satellite navigation system sends you on an unpaved road.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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