back to article Satnav blunder sends Belgian granny 1,450km to Croatia

A Belgian granny who planned an 80km car trip to Brussels ended up in Croatia, after ill-advisedly obeying her satnav's orders to traverse Europe. Sabine Moreau, 67, intended to drive from her home in Solre-sur-Sambre to pick up a chum from the Belgian capital's Brussel-Noord station, but was instead directed eastwards on a two- …

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Meh

There are many stupid people in the world.

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Joke

Re: There are many stupid people in the world.

The distribution is not always even ;-)

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Re: There are many stupid people in the world.

This is a Satnav feature to spread them out a bit...

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Coat

I've always said that we could have a mass cull of the stupid just by setting up SatNavs to detect when they are driving eastwards on Beachy Head and then announce "Turn right now"

(Westwards and "Turn left now" would also work)

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Re: There are many stupid people in the world.

I hope the satnav manufacturer isn't calling this a standard deviation...

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Anonymous Coward

off to the old peoples home

You demented old hag

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Facepalm

Re: There are many stupid people in the world.

And I thought all those kind of drivers gather here in Los Angeles...

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Meh

If you're too stupid to tell you're being lead the wrong way then they should take your licence away.

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Headmaster

And if you don't know that the participle of 'to lead' is 'led' your posting rights should be removed.

[Sorry, toadwarrior, it's a common error that annoys me.]

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Don't be too hard on the lad - at least he knows the difference between 'licence' (noun) and "license" (verb) which is a common error that drives me potty...

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Only license is used if you are a 'Merkan.

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Holmes

dont be too hard on him, point out the error and then he'll learn....

It's just a typo or possibly if he used a mobile device, an auto correct error....

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Anonymous Coward

> If you're too stupid to tell you're being lead the wrong way then they should take your licence away.

And if you're reading this on Windows Phone...

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Headmaster

license

Or, back in the 1980's , the noun was spelt that way in New South Wales. Took me by surprise when I saw it spelt with an s on a very official looking poster in a post office in Woden ACT *. Something like "license photographs taken here" . So I did a bit of checking, and damn me if that's not how they spelt the noun in NSW.

Strange that a country that (allegedly) doesn't have regional accents, does have regional spellings.

* which in a way is in NSW, but also isn't **

** ACT being competely surounded by NSW

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Headmaster

Re: license

You missed a letter in surrounded.

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Anonymous Coward

That will be me

Only seven years to go. I'm noticing the first signs of absent mindedness already.

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FAIL

If you're too distracted to notice that you have gone through several more countries than expected, then may I suggest you shouldn't be driving...

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Boffin

Question:

How did she manage to get through so many countries without being asked to present her passport? Surely she'd have been stopped at the border checkpoint?

Don't get me wrong, I believe it can happen since I was told that one of my grandpa's friends recently ended up in a village some 200 kilometers from home because his degrading mental health and craving for food at 3 in the morning got him there when all he intended to do was drive a few blocks away to a 24-hour food court, but surely the lady would've gotten in trouble for crossing the checkpoint without a passport?

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Re: Question:

Not sure about the Croatian border, but within Schengen you can go anywhere without being stopped. Even so, a border stop at the Croatian border is likely to be a quick glance at an ID card (passport not necessary) and being waved through.

IMHO, if you're 'distracted' enough to drive 1500km and not notice, hints like a border crossing are not going to be substantial enough.

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Re: Question:

Never driven through Europe?

Usually the first you know about crossing a border is when your phone connects to a new network and sends you a text saying "Welcome to Germany". You literally just cross a sign at 70mph a few seconds later (like "Welcome to Middlesex" - style) without stopping and you're in another country. Not even a line, or a person, or a checkpoint, or a different tarmac on the road or anything. And there are sometimes even houses and streets that straddle the border.

I did a 2500 mile round trip around Europe and wasn't hindered once (France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, and then looping back to the UK through France and Germany again - the only reason I didn't get further is that my companions had to fly back to Australia and we lingered too long in Germany, but we were planning Italy, Poland, Spain, etc.).

Some countries do have physical borders that they don't even enforce (e.g. France or Switzerland -> Italy means going through tunnels or over mountains, and they stop you and charge you money for a badge that allows motorway usage, but don't actually check your details at all).

Europe is pretty open. It's incredibly easy to not even know what country you are in if you're not on the main motorways. And it's so easy to cross countries that you can literally do it accidentally, and with nobody knowing. Which can be a bit of pain when UK customs stop you on the ferry back and ask you to prove where you've been and start searching the car thinking that a lone male on a "road trip" to Europe with friends that can't be contacted is probably not being honest. Hell, I didn't even have a receipt for any of the hostels we stayed in because I was doing the driving and petrol because I had the car and a UK credit card, and the others paid for the accommodation because they had cash in Euros. I swear that the 5 customs officers who took an hour to search my car at 3am in the freezing cold were certain I had something even after they removed all my door panels and took my boot apart. But through Europe? Nothing until you hit Calais or the former Russian states, basically.

Europe is pretty open, until you get to the extremes.

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Re: Question:

"Europe is pretty open, until you get to the extremes."

Agree entirely, go to the mainland a lot, 4 times driving last year. Only stops are Dover on the way out - motorhomes are a magnet for security checks, Swiss border but usually only to buy a motorway pass, and British entry check at Calais.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Question: @Lee Dowling

Damn, if they did that to my car I'd be going mad! removing door panels... are they qualified? will they put it all back correctly? I doubt it...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Question:

Driving to Luxembourg in 1980 there was an urban road in Belgium (Bastogne?) with houses on the right and lots of petrol stations on the left. Apparently the left side was in Luxembourg where petrol was cheaper.

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Facepalm

Re: Question:

"It's incredibly easy to not even know what country you are in if you're not on the main motorways"

True, but this wasn't simply straying over the border... she must have crossed all the width of Germany, and the breadth of Austria, and surely she must have stopped for petrol at least once.

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Stop

Re: Question:

"How did she manage to get through so many countries without being asked to present her passport? Surely she'd have been stopped at the border checkpoint?"

Because it's Europe?

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Re: Question:

Very much still the case. In fact, the most reliabile indicator that you're crossing the German border into Luxembourg is that there are a cluster of a half dozen fuel stations within a 50m stretch of road.

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What I'd like to know

Is how she got that far without stopping for fuel at least once. There are very few Diesel powered cars that can hit that range on a single tank (and mostly then only if you're very careful and keep your speed down to 50-60MPH)

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Happy

Re: What I'd like to know

I think she actually stopped for fuel twice and was driving for 2 days, this made me laugh so much, her intended journey was 38 miles, surely after about an hour (more likely earlier) you'd be wondering why you haven't reached your destination, let alone the language changes, sleeping through the night, filling up with petrol, she didn't even think she wasn't in Belgium until she got to Croatia,

Asolutely hilarious story.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Question:

> Which can be a bit of pain when UK customs stop you

Whenever I go abroad customs control on the other end is always efficiently staffed with smiling professionals who seem to genuinely welcome you to their country.

When I get back home again it's a thirty minute queue in front of two grotty booths containing guys with faces like smacked arses. "Welcome to England," they seem to be saying, "keep off the fucking grass."

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Re: Question: @Network67

I think you mean Martelange on the N4.

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Facepalm

Re: Question:

Don't know about you, but in the European Union we don't have those things called Border Posts anymore...

:-)

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Re: Question:

Actually, the swiss army once invaded Liechtenstein on accident.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/mar/02/markoliver

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I'd like to know

There are three official languages in Belgium - Dutch,French and German. They tend to put up roadsigns, and talk, in only the language of each particular region. Seeing roadsigns changing from French to German wouldn't be unusual in itself and a bit of Slovak and Croatian is no more strange to a French speaker than Dutch.

However, the Belgians are the butt of numerous jokes in France along the lines of Irish jokes in England. I suspect a slow news night in the AFP offices.

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Happy

Re: Question:

During the Cold War a former Belgian colleague managed to drive unintentionally, on back roads, from Italy into Albania. Fortunately for him, an Albanian French language teacher spotted the Belgian plates on his 2CV before the local plod and guided him back to Italy.

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Re: Question:

The European Union,through the Schengen Agreement and the Schengen Convention, did away with internal border controls between participating countries and even some non-EU countries.

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FAIL

Re: Question:

What car was he driving, James Bond's Lotus?

Italy and Albania don't have a common land border and on land, "during the Cold War", you would have had to cross a few hundred km along the coast of Yugoslavia (Croatia/Montenegro these days) to get to Albania...

Try again...

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Re: Question:

Shame. Nige'll sort it out though!

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Facepalm

You are having a bubble bath..

"I was distracted, so just kept on driving"

Dear Darwin, for your consideration, before she wipes out some innocent person whilst being "distracted" in control of a 1 ton machine....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You are having a bubble bath..

"Dear Darwin, for your consideration"

It's too late -- she has a son, and is too old to make more anyways.

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Well what she did was still quite harmless

In my home town, Cham, an octogenerian killed a pedestrian while starting a car.

http://www.oberpfalznetz.de/zeitung/1783097-100-ex_staatssekretaer_steuert_unfallwagen,1,0.html

Of course that man also was a politician. :)

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Trollface

When will it end?

iOS 6 Maps claims yet another victim.

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Pint

Re: When will it end?

damn beat me to it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When will it end?

That would be why she was distracted then. It really is a very nice looking satnav interface on iOS 6.

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WTF?

satnav blunder? Really?

Not sure what I have to believe here. If you start in Brussels on the E40 and just never change lanes and keep on driving, you end up in Zagreb. But a satnav system directing you there? Then what destination did she enter? BTW, can anyone explain how you can traverse the Alps, without noticing that is not your typical Belgian landscape?

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Coat

Re: Alps

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: satnav blunder? Really?

"can anyone explain how you can traverse the Alps, without noticing that is not your typical Belgian landscape?"

Well, if you're distracted...

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Re: satnav blunder? Really?

Well, she did notice that the signs changed from French to German to Croatian, and if that didn't deter her, why should a little thing like the Alps cause her to rethink her strategy?

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Re: satnav blunder? Really?

@123465789

Good for her she ended up in Zagreb. Imagine if she was British and wanted to pick up someone in London she would have died spinning around the M25. Or fallen off a cliff.

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Happy

Re: satnav blunder? Really?

Perhaps she thought it was a shortcut.

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Alien

Re: satnav blunder? Really?

"BTW, can anyone explain how you can traverse the Alps, without noticing that is not your typical Belgian landscape?"

Think she was distracted ;) Note she hasn't actually said what she was distracted by, maybe it was the GPS asking her where the hell she was going.

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