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Google Maps Under Fire for Sending Users on Dangerous Roads During Snowstorm

Google Maps is by far the world’s most popular navigation app out there, and without a doubt, millions of people rely on its directions when getting behind the wheel on a daily basis.
Google Maps on Android Auto 6 photos
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However, way too many drivers take everything Google Maps says for granted, and some eagle-eyed users have recently discovered precisely why this isn’t at all a good idea.

Professor Crystal Kolden has recently started a long Twitter discussion over how Google Maps sends people in the Lake Tahoe region to alternative routes that are extremely dangerous. According to one report, drivers were instructed by Google Maps to avoid highway closures even on narrow roads through the Tahoe National Forest.

And this all happened during a snowstorm, which means driving on poorly maintained roads is a big no-no even for experienced drivers.

Google engineer Sören Meyer-Eppler chimed in and explained that it’s sometimes impossible for Google Maps to deal with road closures and find the right alternative routes.

Snow on mountain passes is somewhere in between and incorporates unpredictable weather,” he tweeted.

Even if official sources provide timely data (that's a big if!) it needs a ton of grooming (understanding calendars, data format and mapping their maps/road designations to ours). And you can't afford false positives, especially for mountain passes. Thinking one is closed when it's really not can mean hundreds of km detour. Thus even if we know it snows - does that necessarily mean the pass is closed?

Google explained in an official statement for the cited source that it’s currently making changes that should help drivers choose the better route to reach their destination. Google Maps now displays a winter storm warning in the app, and Google claims it’s encouraging all drivers to stay alert, especially when dealing with such difficult conditions.

Law enforcement recommends everybody to stay home and no longer attempt to sneak past the road closures.

 
 
 
 
 

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