back to article Satnav driver's car totalled by train

A 20-year-old student had a narrow escape when her satnav directed her to drive onto a remote level crossing, resulting in the unplanned destruction of the car by a train. According to the BBC, Paula Ceely had borrowed her boyf's satnav for a trip from Redditch, Worcestershire, to Carmarthenshire. She recounted: "Obviously I …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Yawn another satnav on so turn brain off story

Satnav is not a replacement for looking where you are going despite all these users thinking it is an interface level compatible brain replacement

0
0

And they gave her a driving licence why exactly ?

Common sense should of had her open both gates and drive thorugh .

And how did she fail to notice a damn railway line ? . Not exactly the easiest thing to miss is it .

Satnav users deserve everything they get . I use a mapbook . People that put blind faith in something along the lines of satnav are barmy .

0
0
Anonymous Coward

A bit rum to blame the satnav

would it have been really different if she had been using a map?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Glasses?

Perhaps instead of SatNav she should borrow/buy some glasses next time. Train tracks - They're the big metal things in between the two gates, not there for decoration.

0
0

WTF?

Ok, so she stopped, opened a closed gate, drove onto train tracks, then stopped again. Yeah I can totally see how the SatNav is to blame for that. Ever heard of an A-Z?

0
0

RTFS (S - Sign)

Ehhh... is it just me who sees the real problem here...

"there was a little sign saying, if the light is green, open the gates and drive through"

GATES, I mean if she'd done what it said there would be no problem. The sat nav got here to the right place, now if she had been smart enough to understand the sign....!

Sheesh.. a near miss for the Darwins methinks

0
0

FFS

If you blindly follow your sat nav, get out of your car open the level crossing gate and then park your car on the tracks to close the gate behind you then I'm sorry but you deserve what you get.

I love the line "If the light is Green open the gate". Now she never mentioned what colour the light was but we can assume as the gates were closed and a train was coming that the light probably wasn't green.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Sad

Do we live in an age where people just blidnly go forth.... without thinking....or is it just me?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

What kind of dumb crossing is this?

Is it just me or is the design of the crossing completely screwed up? Here in Canada if we have a crossing in a remote place and there's no automatic barrier, all we have is blinking lights and bells or a few speedbumps and a sign that says "railroad crossing". In any case, what kind of idiot designs something where it is physically possible to be trapped between gates on a railroad?

Yes the girl is a twit who challenges even Paris Hilton for a title to something; but what's really at fault here is British engineering for designing such a deathtrap.

0
0

Yet Another Excuse - the dog ate my homework

Jeez, people will blame ANYTHING and ANYONE except themselves.

And idiot dorks just LOVE technology, because it offers their lazy minds plenty of excuses.

She just wanted to blow away the car, that;s the real story.

0
0

Old News

This happened weeks ago! It was front page news in our local rag, and even back then I wondered how the hell she managed to pass her driving test with such a woeful lack of knowledge of the highway code which does cover rail crossings.

And just what has Sat Nav got to do with someone being stupid enough to stop a car on an unmanned crossing? The instructions at the crossings are clear enough, and common sense (Not supplied with satnav) surely tells you NOT to stop and faff around while parked across a rail line?

She should be prosecuted for endangering the safety of the railway! And STILL the insurance industry tells us women are safer drivers!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

What sort of crossing

It sounds as if it was probably an accommodation crossing - effectively a private one not a public one. She would also have gone past a notice telling her to "Stop Look and Listen" and so on...

http://www.translink.co.uk/resources2005/pdfs/Level%20Crossing%20(3)%20190407.pdf

0
0

selective vision

so she says the satnav didn't show the railway lines on whats presumably a 7inch screen on the car, yet she failed to notice actual railway lines with effective infinity resolution and screen size, so how exactly would it have helped having them on screen, and perhaps it was there after all.

if it truely were darwin at work, the car would be fine and she'd be the one down the track.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

sat nav wont fix incompetence

Oh dear,

The manner in which rail crossings are marked is something clearly explained in the highway code. Last time I looked I thought having a licence was something only granted after proving your ability to be safe and careful on the road. Clearly still a long way to go in development of driver standards then.

If it looks like a train crossing, sounds like a train crossing, it is a train crossing.

Sat nav clearly would clearly be doing the rest of us a great service if it were better developed to report idiots like this directly to the DVLA and revoke their licence for stupidity.

0
0

Women drivers safer - myth

They're not. Per kilometre, they are slightly more likely to have an accident. Women get cheaper insurance because, on average, they drive far fewer miles than men - and therefore are less likely over a year to have an accident.

0
0

A blonde story?

How in the name of Cthulu did this ditz read the road signs to find her way to this level crossing? Surely Satnav, even with voice recognition and speech synthesis, can't be advanced enough to permit illiterate morons to navigate hundreds or perhaps even thousands of yards without a keeper, can it?

And BTW - there a significant difference between a "boyf" and "bumf?" Or is this more of El Reg trying to use "Cutelish" again?

0
0

Yup, all satnavs fault

Mine is just as bad - doesn't tell me to stop at traffic lights, which side of the road to drive on, when to change gear, anything like that!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Perhaps they should sell special sat navs

which randomly directs people over cliffs and such like - either people learn to trust eyes first or the problem will be resolved otherwise

0
0

Safer drivers?

"And STILL the insurance industry tells us women are safer drivers!"

Clearly they are! This woman is just doesn't know how to PARK safely...

Right...I'll get my coat...

0
0

Now that's what I call 'thick as two short planks'

Open both gates FIRST and then drive through.

While I'm glad she escaped unhurt, I sincerely hope she leaves the education of her kids if she has any, to someone else as she doesn't seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Easy mistake to make

Come on. You can't blame the girl.

All she had to go on were a few subtle clues;

Parallel closed gates, metal lines along the ground and a warning light with a notice. Anyone could miss the significance, couldn't they?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Oh FGS...

How on earth can you blame satnav for that!

I use satnav virtually everywhere, and I have never made such a silly mistake. The only mistake I once did was to follow my satnav down some little country lane. Since then I zoom out and check whether there's a reason for that, and take an alternative.

0
0

Beryg , drenau yn pasio!

Well it's written in both languages!

Extremely unlucky as only about 2 trains run along the line there a day and at a max of about 60mph.

0
0

GPS Signals cooked her two brain cells?

My saying in life - Engage Brain before operating Hand or Mouth.

I this would apply here. I still fail to understand how she couldn't notice the two dirty great lumps of iron under her feet. And what did she think, that she had to drive through a very narrow, but VERY long field?

0
0

Heh

So she still blames the satnav (I'll never use satnav again) for not seeing the big railway line running in both directions.

Amazing how creative stupid people become when finding a reason not to blame themselves.

0
0
Bronze badge

State of rail crossing?

In the dark with a little mist I can well believe someone getting confused by the level crossing in the pdf linked above. It looks nothing like a level crossing. This is reminiscent of a station in Cambridgeshire which until recently required people to cross the tracks to buy a ticket and conveniently missed the detail that if there was a train stopped at the closer platform then there was physically no space to look around it for an oncoming train without putting your head in its path.

Last I heard they responded to a death and subsequent reports of countless near-misses by installing a second ticket machine and promising to get around to putting a bridge in someday.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Just a short comment...

"This is reminiscent of a station in Cambridgeshire which until recently required people to cross the tracks to buy a ticket and conveniently missed the detail that if there was a train stopped at the closer platform then there was physically no space to look around it for an oncoming train without putting your head in its path."

Adding a traffic signal to indicate an incoming train would work too. Placing the crossing on the right end of the station so the incoming train would come from the unblocked direction would also work. A mirror placed across the crossing aimed at the blocked direction would be a great plus too. (and all 3 solutions are cheap compared to a bridge or an underpass)

Btw. the problem with satnav is that people tend not to check the whole route, but only look for the turns while they travel. Checking the planned route like it was a map before starting the car would solve most issues. The rest is just plain stupidity.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Why the crap about 'women drivers'? - it's a M$ type situation

This has nothing to do with the fact that the driver was female, although it's convenient for our misogynistic posters, it's a constant reminder that the more 'safety' and 'information' devices there are in cars the less people pay attention to where they are and road conditions. I don't remember the same type of crap language being used when males have problems with Sat-nav.

Cars are behaving more like Window$ where you don't need to think about the machine or software use, just keep on clicking on things and the world is wonderful. All the hard work (thinking) is done for you.

Don't worry about things crashing in to you as there is loads of protection. Don't worry about driving in to things as there are loads of devices to stop you skidding, keep the car in line etc. etc.

The same people are blissfully using Vi$ta etc. totally at ease behind the Windows firewall and 'malicious software remover' and M$ Updates and those nice, friendly things like IE, Outlook and Messenger.

The car and P.C. products are sold on the 'you don't need to think' basis.

Men are just as gullible - possibly even more easy to con with technology than women as they can be easily swayed by fancy big letters instead of descriptions.

Please don't come the 'women drivers!!' crap when you've just opened an e-mail about celebrity nudes or growing a bigger willy.

0
0

For heavens sake

Aren't designers supposed to use risk mitigation when designing information systems ?

Which if I remember correctly proposes the theory that you can't program the end user.

Perhaps if they included the possibility that a real humans would be driving the vehicles, SatNav would be condidered a safety critical system and wouldn't be sitting on so many dashboards.

As humans are so notoriously unpredictable, perhaps the system designers should include folks who can't read a map/drive a car as part of the design team, chimps spring to mind.

Alf

0
0

Oh Well

Simple logic:

Give someone technology --> They think it is infalible --> They trust it --> It goes wrong --> Blame the technology

If you put blind faith in technology then near misses and unavoidable deaths of cars etc will happen. Not to mention how damn lucky she is to still be alive. Maybe her God is a technophobe and saved her bacon.

In my opinion sat navs are a waste of money and dangerous. On a recent trip to south London from Nottingham my mate who was driving had at least 7 near miss accidents because he was too busy looking at the sat nav and not the road ahead. The ironic thing is not only do we both know that area well he got stuck in a jam which I warned him about and refused to listen to a better and traffic free route because his 'sat nav' didn't display the jam.

Long live the brain and common sense

0
0

Surely this has to be an urban myth

I mean, a railway crossing with gates on *both* sides that have to be operated *by hand*?!?!? NO WAY!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Driving Without Due Care and Attention?

At least she's admitted the offence, so in no time at all PC Plod will be round her house (after paying due regard to the Sat-Nav directions) so she can "help the police with their enquiries" into the damage and danger to life she caused!

Like everyone else I see the stupid/funny side of this, but we could be reading about a train derailment that killed people!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Obvious signage of crossing

The crossing in question was nothing like the one shown in the pdf above. In fact, it was littered with an abundance of signs and warnings as can be seen in this picture:

http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/_images/db/42/91/LEVELCROSSING1.429125.full.jpg

0
0
Silver badge

MWL crossing

It's a "Miniature Warning Light" (MWL) level crossing. These are still in use in a few rural areas where the cost of employing a person to operate the crossing or installing automated barriers would be prohibitive for the amount of traffic using the crossing. The Highway Code also warns that some *really* isolated crossings do not even have the miniature warning lights; you're expected to rely on your own eyes, ears and brain.

The wording on the signs at these crossings also does clearly say "open _both_ gates"; so if she only opened one, it's her own stupid fault. And the train company should be sending her the bill for any damage to their locomotive!

We really ought to have a proper medical-sounding name for this "over-reliance on technology / blame tech for user's own shortcomings" syndrome.

(As an aside, there was an old story that mapmakers would include deliberate inaccuracies only they knew about. Anyone copying their maps as opposed to making their own surveys would reproduce the inaccuracies. I wonder if the SatNav manufacturers are running afoul of this?)

0
0

very poorly designed crossing

Speaking as someone from Canada, who has never driven in a place with crossings like that, I would call the signage (at both the crossing type in the PDF and the JPEG) *very* poor. I would probably notice the train tracks, but only because I notice more obscure things than most. Things wrong with the way these crossings are set up:

- Nowhere on the "stop/look/listen" sign does it say "train." I think the words "Warning! Train!" would be *far* more effective. "stop/look/listen" actually implies a minor hazard (e.g. "wet floor"), since we're told to do that for everything nowadays. If I came across a sign like this unexpected, I would read through the entire thing and still have no idea what it's about (i.e. what am I stopping/looking/listening for?). I would think something along the lines of "OK, some moron put an elaborate and silly gate in the middle of nowhere" and I would feel as shocked as this woman to find train tracks in between the gates -- and my very next thought would be "Why the hell isn't this crossing marked?!" -- compare with a typical Canadian crossing: http://static.flickr.com/56/189128767_ef9841d123.jpg

- The triangular railway sign in the JPEG is easily misinterpreted to mean "gate" or "fence" -- why are the tracks asymmetrical? It looks like a picket fence. It also should say "RAILWAY CROSSING" or something on it. That this sign is NOT present in the crossings in the PDF tells me that Britain has no universal sign for railway crossings. WTF? The crossing in the JPEG is actually made considerably more dangerous by the presence of the gates, because the gates obscure the view of the train tracks. The whole affair with the rickety second-hand traffic light looks cobbled together and not nearly important enough to imply trains -- compare another typical Canadian crossing: http://images.worldofstock.com/slides/TRT1383.jpg (I don't think I've ever seen an active crossing that didn't have those big, imposing-looking lights.)

- Echoing a previous comment, why the heck are there latching, manually operated gates in front of these crossings anyway? The only explanation that comes to mind is that it's for livestock -- but still, in Canada we use cattle-guards (which you can drive over without having to get out of the car) for that kind of thing.

For the record, I almost never side with the victim in cases like this -- but in this case I really feel that Britain has a huge railway safety issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

~Felix.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Baaaa

Felix: there aren't many double gated crossings in use, but the main reason for leaving the few that remain (on minor roads in rural areas on two-train-a-day lines) is so that livestock can be driven across (with the two gates swung across the tracks to stop the beasties straying up the line). Which obviously means you can't use cattle grids.

0
0

Dunno about Canada but...

... in the UK we do this driving test thing in which you are tested, inter alia, on your ability to identify all the (international standard) signs for things like level crossings. That sign is in use at crossings pretty much everywhere from here to Vladivostok.

0
0

Women safer than men? Yes.

"They're not. Per kilometre, they are slightly more likely to have an accident. Women get cheaper insurance because, on average, they drive far fewer miles than men - and therefore are less likely over a year to have an accident."

Urban myths are wonderfully flexible things. Hard numbers not quite so:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16698153/

If you excluded drink driving and 20-30 year old males, the numbers might or might not change (you and I both don't know) .. but we're talking averages here and on average men *are* more unsafe drivers than women. They are more likely to kill, and to be killed on the road.

Personally, I'm an above average driver, can exceed speed limits and can drive while talking on a mobile phone all without increasing my risk of an accident -- but that's because I'm a man. This is also why speed cameras should apply only to women and not to me.

0
0
Bronze badge

Cattle grids

You can use a cattle grid on the railway line too...

Cost is the big thing though. Any change to a railway crossing is expensive. Even something as simple as a set of flashing lights would run to many thousands of US dollars (I am Aussie, but I figure most people know what a US dollar is worth).

Out we I am we have hundreds of crossings with no protection. No lights, no gates, just a single sign on each side (Give Way sign with a train image under it). Maybe us country folk in Australia just know when to use our eyes and when not to park on the damn railway lines.

0
0
ian

Bimbo

There's a picture of the bimbo here

http://www.newswireless.net/index.cfm/article/3353

Clearly she's been dying her hair.

0
0

Title

Felix-

There is a sign to the left hand side of the gates as you approach, giving you directions on how to use the crossing (numbered 1 to 5). For low use crossings (where there may only be 2 or 4 trains a day), this is the most economic way of operating the system.

S.

0
0

Stop blaming the design

Come on stop blaming the design, we shouldn't even need gates.

There should just be lights like traffic lights, its your own damn stupid fault if you run it isn't it.

we do too much protecting the stupid from themselves and they still manage to darwinise themselves with that.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

SatNav

Swimming at the shallow end of the gene pool. How did she ever make it to 20?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Open mouth, disengage brain

She should be more careful in her use of words - if the report is verbatim, she's opened herself up to some penalty points (quite rightly so) on a driving without due care rap.

"If maybe I had been more aware of the situation, I wouldn't have had the accident."

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Couple of points....

First, the quote "I put my complete trust in the satnav and it led me right into the path of a speeding train. The crossing wasn't shown on the satnav, there were no signs at all, and it wasn't lit up to warn of an oncoming train."

So, are we to expect that satnav's are now to include the timetables of every train in Europe just so it can work out EXACTLY where the stupid bint is in relation to the 10.42 from Euston to Cardiff?

Secondly, Felix, the signage is perfectly adequate, as shown here -http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/26.htm which clearly dictates how one should approach a crossing of this type. All required signs and lights are in place, I believe. Also, just in case the she DID think the sign did mean that there was a particularly nice or even dangerous picket fence in the area then that can be cleared up here - http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/signs05.htm.

She is only trying to blame the satnav for her own cranial shortcomings - something which is only going to become more common in the future, I fear.

Good job this isn't the US - I'm quite sure someone else could be found to be blamed (and sued) on some spurious aspect of this sad, stupid and entirely avoidable episode somewhere....thank god nobody on the train died.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Sat Nav?

Why exactly is the sat nav being blamed for this? What does it even have to do with the story? It did its job perfectly well. It's not as though it said 'Stop in between the gates and park'. It isn't the satnav's fault if you get hit by a train following its directions. She must just be very stupid.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Lucky!

I think the lady driver should count her lucky stars the Sat Nav didn't point her off an outed bridge or cliff. You never know what might have happened!

P.s. Silly Mare

0
0

Hmmm...

Found this on a site -

No-one was injured when the Arriva Pembroke Dock to Swansea train ploughed into the car at around >>8pm<<, but Paula, who was left shaken by the crash, says that it's only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs at this location.

Source -> http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/search/display.var.1224413.0.its_a_disaster_waiting_to_happen.php

The article was posted on "10:10am Wednesday 28th February 2007" and stated that she was driving at 8PM (presumably the previous night) and so it was pretty dark at that time in february. So...

Question: Why didnt she realise that this was a train crossing?

Answer: Was there any street lighting? Doubt it! Add to the fact she would not have had any kind of "night vision" due to driving with headlights. No wonder she didnt see the tracks.

Question: Was there a Crossing Blocked Signal?

Answer: If a warning signal even existed, the Gates open outward, so would not cross the tracks causing any kind of signal down the track telling the train driver that the crossing was blocked.

Question: How do we know the gates opened outward??

Answer: She would not have been able to close the gate as the car would block the closing, unless the gates opened "at least" outward. This also lends to the credibility that she could have not seen tracks as she would not crossed over them yet, and in my experience train crossing barriers usually blocks the trains path.

Question: With train tracks usually being straight (not 90 degree angles). How did the train driver miss seeing the car on the tracks?

Answer: It was Dark!! and a Black clio would have been pretty hard to notice.

Question: How did she not notice the warning lights, signalling an oncoming train?

Answer: The train was travelling at 60mph, and could have been far from the crossing before she started to cross. Also once your on the tracks, the lights signifying a oncoming train are obscured by the retangular object next to them (sun shield??).

Question: Why did she only open one gate at a time??

Answer: No idea, prob just blonde. But as she didnt realise this was a train crossing why would she worry about getting across in one go??

0
0
Anonymous Coward

The highway code seems quite clear on this...

From the link someone posted earlier:

--- snip ---

269: Some crossings have 'Stop' signs and small red and green lights. You MUST NOT cross when the red light is showing, only cross if the green light is on. If crossing with a vehicle, you should

open the gates or barriers on both sides of the crossing

check that the green light is still on and cross quickly

close the gates or barriers when you are clear of the crossing.

--- snip ---

I hope she'll be losing her driving license until she can pass the theory test, and that she (or more likely her insurance) will be paying the expenses the railways have incurred because of her incompetence.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Couple of more points....(same poster)

Right, I've had enough of this nonsense...

Daniel...you, sir, are a twat.

8pm in February? Headlights on, do we think? Or was she using the Force?

So she blindly following the satnav, is too thick to recognise the signage (as already cleared up) and stops at the gates. Lights on green or red? Who's to know - she certainly won't be answering THAT question!

Anyway, the gates open outwards i.e. towards the car. How can I say that? Because if you LOOK at the picture, you can see the sodding hinges against the gatepost. So she opens the gates, gets back in the car and drives onto the crossing. I would of assumed that the tracks would of been picked up in the car headlights, or that she might of noticed them going back to close the gates, or EVEN again crossing both rails to open the other gates. But, alas, no.

In response to why the train driver did not see the black Clio, I will graciously accept your answer, but as to why she did not see the warning lights - who knows. The law states that a minimum of 20 seconds should apply between the warning lights coming on and the train passing the crossing, so what was she doing for those 20 seconds? Texting her boyfriend? Doing her nails? Trying to remember how to open the car door?

The facts of the matter are she is stupid, has no excuse and is trying to blame an inanimate object for her own failings.

I notice there is considerable defense in your post - your're not her boyfriend, are you?

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums