back to article Oh snap! The road's closed. Never mind, Google Maps has a plan...

"You are not a lemming," said a traffic anchor of not one, not two, but reportedly about 100 people who came a cropper after following Google Maps' directions onto a muddy dirt road to avoid a road snarlup on the way to Denver Airport at the weekend. According to a witness, whose SUV had that all-important all-wheel drive, …

  1. Psmo Bronze badge

    Shortcuts with grass down the middle

    My father's speciality, and I'll admit to a weakness for the path less travelled.

    I'll have to remember this next my wife complains.

    "Google's taking us a different way, it'll be fine" "...but you use OpenStreetMaps!"

    1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge

      Re: Shortcuts with grass down the middle

      Recently, I was using Google Maps on my Android phone as a satnav to go across country because I didn't want to take the direct route through Shrewsbury. I was driving along a B road and was instructed to turn right down a small lane. The lane got smaller and narrower, and eventually ended at the gates of a level crossing, which had obviously not been opened for several years as there was a grassy hump engulfing the bottom rail of the gate and a huge rusty padlock and chain. I could see the main road traffic going past on the other side of the crossing, but there was no way I could reach it. I had to make a 3 point turn, with a trailer on, and retrace my route back to the B road, turn right, and continue on until I reached its junction with the A road, whereupon I turned right and went back past the other set of crossing gates, also similarly padlocked shut, and continued on my way. As soon as I got back home, I went on Google Maps, found the road in question, and marked it as "Permanently Closed". I have similarly renamed other wrongly named roads in my area.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shortcuts with grass down the middle

      Touring Norway in 1980 we descended a steep fjord side through a snow tunnel. At that time many of the coastal roads were similar - but this one seemed difficult for most non-4x4 cars.

      Taking the paper map from my navigator I found we had deviated from the anticipated main roads' route. Why? She said "It looked interesting on the map".

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: Shortcuts with grass down the middle

        I've seen tourists in Norway try to navigate using ancient maps(in the case of the German tourists, I fully expect to see a Wehrmacht logo on it... ).

        It's no good using a map from the 70s when all the roads were renumbered in the 90s. Quite a few ferries have had the docks moved or the route replaced by long bridges or undersea tunnels, and so on.

        I still use maps, because they give me a much better overview. And I take notes and draw on them with a pen, too.

  2. OffBeatMammal

    after having Google Maps direct me onto unsealed roads here in Australia a couple of times I do now take a look at the satellite view before heading into uncharted territory!

    their counterpart Waze does have an option to report unsealed roads, so it's a shame they're not using the data (I really don't understand why they are still two seperate apps - as a motorcyclists both do a pretty average job)

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      FWIW, though I only use it for cycling or walking, OsmAnd has very granular journey preference choices such as road surface, or avoiding ferries, zombies, etc. For driving I'd generally use Here, which while part of the data harvester collective, not only does offline maps but also offline navigation.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        My fairly old (with lifetime map updates, still current) also has avoidance options such as car share lanes, ferries, tolls and, of course, unpaved roads. It's a done deal. Surely Google Maps has something similar on their routing options? Or are they about the "invent" a "new" feature?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Man, if I had to avoid unpaved roads, I'd never be able to go home. (And, yes, I not-infrequently haul a trailer down them, too.)

          Just a few days ago, I was driving back from the airport (a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive normally) and discovered they'd closed the road due to a brush fire. Our options were to turn around and add another hour by backtracking to the alternate all-paved route, or take a little side trip through Taos Junction. Which is very pretty, but it's at the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge, and Taos itself is on the plateau at the top of the gorge.

          So you drive several miles through the gorge alongside the river, then you come to a one-lane bridge over the river. The pavement ends and you drive a gravel road that switchbacks up the side of the gorge, an ascent of a few hundred feet. With no guardrails and views that are ... stimulating. And of course it's washboarded and potholed, so the car bounces around as you go.

          Several people in front of us pulled over, no doubt to debate their options. Unfortunately for them, those are limited to "go ahead" and "go all the way back". (As part-time locals, we knew what to expect, but clearly a bunch of those around us did not.)

          I'm sure there have been times when tourists have followed Google Maps to that route. It's legitimate; it's a state road, and I've seen truckers on it, so it's entirely usable. We have AWD and good clearance and skidplates, but I've known people to take random passenger cars over those roads. You just need to take care and know how to drive your vehicle.

          (There used to be a road that did the same thing up the other side of the gorge, but it was permanently closed by a landslide some years back. Taos is not friendly to roads.)

    2. FozzyBear Silver badge

      South of Sussex Inlet which is south of Sydney NSW is a beautiful sleepy little village. Apparently if you entered a specific address of caravan park and holiday destination (well quite a number of addresses for that village) Google Maps would send the would be holiday maker into a 10 Km long looping scenic drive, never to reach their destination.

      Being a regular there, it was a relaxing afternoon sitting in the beer garden overlooking the road with the locals. Watching the tourists doing laps. If memory serves me correctly the record was 4.

      1. Dave559

        South of Sussex Inlet

        I'm impressed at the efforts that the residents of Summer Bay have gone to in order to keep those bad influences from "the city" (or maybe just the ne'er-do-wells from Yabbie Creek) away from intruding on the calm of their town. Top-class map hacking, guys!

    3. NATTtrash

      OK, bring it on, I know, I know...

      But now I know why those paper maps I have feel so comfortable...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        They don't need power or a network? OTOH they start to fall apart quickly if they get wet and can be a bugger if it's windy and you generally need to stop to read them.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          ...not to mention that paper maps are invariably at least a year out of date by the time they are published. How long after publication you get it could be another year. Then you rely on it and don't replace it for another few years. Sometimes, they have "proposed road, opening xxxx" which either never open or open many years later than suggested by the map. I remember one particular trip in 2007 where the map showed a new fairly major road "opening 2005" and when I got there, it didn't exist. It eventually got built in 2009.

          1. The Basis of everything is...

            West Preston Bypass - 70 years and waiting

            They even started building the motorway junction in preparation for it, And no, I've never told people to "come off the M55 at J2 as it's a short cut". Honest guv...

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Yes, it's a trade-off like everything else. These days I keep a road atlas and some gazetteers (which show smaller county roads and such) in the car, but if I happen to get lost I usually try Google Maps first, as it works often enough. Having the paper maps as a backup is handy, though. And they're fun to browse.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge


    Sat Nav takes user off road / into lake / over cliff / into elderly couple's lounge / etc ad nauseum is still news?

    The fact that it's satnav by Google doesn't make this any different to umpty-thousand other tabloid column fillers...

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: Really?

      They are just public information news features. Like "Women ate reheated chicken and suffers rampant jelly bottom" or "Man decapitates himself shaving with chain saw". They are intended as a warning rather than actual news. (In this case I assume look where you are actually driving rather than listen to the little box on the dashboard - even if it is a magic box).

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        "They are intended as a warning rather than actual news."

        Yes, like today's story about a girl who drowned in a river. That's a tragedy in itself of course, but the Police are warning people not to swim in open water in the current warm weather. Back when I was a kid, about 45 years ago, there was a huge national campaign to get every child taught to swim. Schools gave swimming lessons, man schools had their own pools (both mu junior and secondary schools had pools) and there were constant TV campaigned on the dangers of open water, what to look out for, how to swim safely in those places etc. Eerily (at least now, in hindsight), Rolf Harris hosted a weekly show teaching kids to swim.

        Now that we no longer have compulsory school swimming lessons, we have generations growing up who either can't swim or have no concept of the risks involved and so drownings seem to be going up. The modern solution is to warn people away rather than educate. There's been a rash of students drowning in city rivers and canals after falling in after a night out. The solution is more lifebelts, special volunteer patrols and shrieks for fencing rather than telling people to be responsible for their own actions.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      To be fair, I have found Google Maps (and even the less capable Apple Maps) of substantial better use than even an up to date TomTom, because they're view on "up to date" is in my opinion abysmal at best. It's been trying to get me to drive on the left in a country that drives on the right, failed to map roads that had been open for more than a year and in general quite simply lags substantially.

      In addition, you can tell it "company xyz in place abc" and it will usually find it, whereas TomTom wants an address. Much quicker.

      I would have said "but in exchange it's more private", but that deosn't fly either because you can only get up to date traffic data if you share your position. That would be logical as it's otherwise hard to work out which traffic data is relevant, but there's also sharing involved AFAIK.

      In short, TomTom was once moderately useful, but the free facilities of Google work better provided you have a data connection. I have unlimited data for the whole of Europe, so I don't care much about the data aspect. Frankly, I think they would have died if it wasn't for their sale of data to car manufacturers (which means it sucks in cars, so you STILL end up using your phone).

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        And as bad as TomTom is (and I can agree with every point from experience) Garmin is far worse.

        My rather extensive local subdivision has been here nearly 30 years, and it's still a 8 square mile blank spot on the latest Garmin units.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Really?

          Maybe it's a local thing, dependant on who supplies the data to Garmin or TomTom. My Garmin has a "find near..." option that lets me specify town, postcode, destination, along route etc. and generally works very well for me as a daily user. Or maybe it's down to the age of the satnav and/or the price/feature set.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      We apologize for forcing you to read the story.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    A couple of years ago I was sent to a remote site to do some installation work.

    Did it, but finished up when the sun touched the horizon. And I was far from home (120km more or less). So I digged out my trusted Nokia 5230, activated the GPS and all that, just for a shorter voyage back home (obviating the need to pick up Mr Spock et al along the way). And why not? It never led me astray.

    The GPS led me to take a route through the middle of a township - which, at night, is NOT a good place for a white person to be. I managed to keep my wits, and get myself out of there ASAP.

    Suffice to say that I now no longer do blind-driving-rely-on-GPS (except for the occasional "where is that shop" trip with SWAMBO).

    I now tend to look up my destination on Google Maps (or whatever), make a note of any possible danger zones on my route, and then I use my GPS as backup guide, knowing that it'll warn me should there be a major accident ahead, or some local speed cops hoping for a quick buck.

    HERE maps also have the additional feature of warning you should you go above the max speed limit for a certain section of road, great to avoid an unscheduled and unwanted chat with the local traffic constabulary.

    People blindly relying on GPS guidance will get the wind taken out of their sails sooner or later.

    1. baud Bronze badge

      It reminds me of that story, a few years ago, about Israelis soldiers in a car, following Waze's directions, which made them go through a Palestinian refugee camp, sparking a riot that killed two persons.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Seriously, anyone who takes Google Maps directions without doing some due diligence is already in deep crap. Always flip it over to photo view of the route. And even then, take a deep breath, drive carefully, and make the proper sacrifices to your deity of choice.

      Blind faith in tech and tech companies is sheer stupidity or folly, or both.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The GPS led me to take a route through the middle of a township - which, at night, is NOT a good place for a white person to be. I managed to keep my wits, and get myself out of there ASAP."

      To be fair, that's very much a local knowledge thing and I can't imagine any form of mapping system is going to take into account, in this specific case, the drivers skin colour before deciding which way to go.

      Anyone living in a area which has danger zones or no-go areas should never rely on any form of map to find a route without using local up to date knowledge.

      1. baud Bronze badge

        > Anyone living in a area which has danger zones or no-go areas should never rely on any form of map to find a route without using local up to date knowledge.

        I heard that Microsoft tried to do that on Bing map, with itineraries trying to avoid danger zones, but rollbacked/never deployed, following a negative reaction

  5. Semtex451 Silver badge

    AFAIR the US's best selling ve-hicle is the Ford F150, and Dodge sell a great many Ram's.

    Don't tell me Google havn't been harvesting data on what their users drive?

    Obviously in an innocent bid to direct 4x4 and AWD driving users to routes otherwise unsuitable?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Yes, and what's the bet that all of the drivers who followed the route will be suddenly getting 4x4 car ads following them around the net for the next month?

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        RE: getting 4x4 car ads

        Probably for this bad motherfucker:

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      You still have to know how to to drive off road, even if you own a 4x4.

      Source: the number of idiots getting their fancy SUVs stuck, every time there's more than light dusting of snow around here.

      1. GlenP Silver badge

        You still have to know how to drive off road, even if you own a 4x4.

        Coupled with having the right tyres. Many "soft-roaders" may have 4-wheel drive but are fitted with road tyres (often with stupidly low profiles on oversize rims).

        Remember a few years ago a nearly new Range Rover going "off road", didn't even get through the first gateway into the field. We told them to go away until they were suitably booted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          My Ford Edge Sport has a fair whack of power (335hp) and AWD. But it's a FORD AWD system and it's on rubber band tyres so the most offroad experience I ever give it is to drive across short dry grass or mounting the kerb from time to time. Not to mention the fact that it's an automatic so forget any nuance with your left foot.

          Here in Canada, the tarmac is an exciting concoction. Unlike England (from which I can still feel the loose fillings I have from all the potholes after 15 years of driving there) the road surface is normally pretty well maintained and generally free of potholes in most areas BUT for the following issues:

          They don't use a draining surface with a rough top-layer so the water pools on it, even on highways where it's not unusual to be doused under a bathtub-volume of water thrown over the central reservation by a truck coming the other way. But hey, free car-wash.

          They also use a tough, shiny blend of aggregates, and they use (seemingly water-soluble) non-reflective paint to casually mark the lines where they choose to do so, and they generally haven't discovered cats-eyes or reflective posts in most places or don't believe in them.

          All of which, at night (which it generally is), when it rains (which it generally does), renders it as one, large mirror-like battle zone with everyone simultaneously, yet wholly independently, squinting through the windscreen as they gracefully weave and sway their way along the road, making use of two or sometimes even three lanes at a time, bouncing delicately off other vehicles whose drivers are too preoccupied with looking for their turn to notice.

          Not to mention the fact that there are several thousand miles of road which don't have any surface on them at all... Those tend to be mud in spring and autumn, dustbowls in the summer and white in the winter.

          Still - at least it keeps our car insurance premiums sky-high...

          1. Wexford

            Upvoted for your turn of phrase alone.

      2. Garymrrsn

        Muds Law of Offroad Vehicles

        The harder it is to get stuck, the harder it is to get unstuck when it inevitably does get stuck.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Muds Law of Offroad Vehicles

          My brother, who does off-roading as a hobby, told me that 4-wheel drive is simply a better way to get stuck. And gave a bit of practical advice - keep it in 2-wheel drive until you barely get stuck, then use 4WD to get out of there.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Muds Law of Offroad Vehicles

            Once stuck or in the process of getting stuck, don't rev the engine to "power your way out'. All it does is dig you deeper.

            1. stiine Silver badge

              Re: Muds Law of Offroad Vehicles

              Hey, don't ruin the fun for the rest of us.

            2. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: Muds Law of Offroad Vehicles

              Plenty of times I've driven past a stuck SUV who've dug themselves into a hole with Power! whilst I pootle past in my two wheel drive hachback...

            3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Muds Law of Offroad Vehicles

              What, I can't get out with a whole lotta flooring?

    3. vtcodger Silver badge

      A Guess

      Guessing, but that road is probably perfectly OK, if a bit bumpy, 350 days of the year. It's just that a very heavy rain or, in some parts of the US "Mud season" can reduce the road to a bog. Mud Season -- for those who are unfamiliar -- is a short period in Spring in cold climates when the road surface thaws and the underlying material is still frozen and thus is impermeable. Result -- near instant swamp. Mud season roads in Vermont have been known to temporarily swallow even tracked vehicles like bulldozers.

      That said, both the Internet, (Google) and canned information (Garmin) have been known to recommend some rather odd routes. I'm fine with unpaved roads. But I generally turn around when the road is so rarely used that plants are growing in the track.

      1. Jim Mitchell

        Re: A Guess

        "short period"? The humorous saying in some parts of the US is "there are only two seasons: Winter and Mud".

        1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: A Guess

          Actually, in Colorado it is more likely to be Winter and Dust, with the occasional Winter and Dust.

          1. Steve Aubrey

            Re: A Guess

            Early winter, mid-winter, late winter, and three months of bad skiing.

            1. Don Casey

              Re: A Guess

              For California: wet, and on fire, are our two seasons.

              1. Joe W Silver badge

                Re: A Guess

                "Nine months of hockey, three months bad ice"

                (a canuck about the territories)

              2. Stratman

                Re: A Guess

                Scotland has two seasons, June and winter.

                Billy Connolly.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: A Guess

                  The UP (and much of Canada) has two seasons: Winter and Mosquito.

                  California has four: Summer, fire, mudslide and earthquake. Sometimes all on the same day.

                  1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                    Re: A Guess

                    To be fair, in the UP the mosquitoes are often all but imperceptible, thanks to the black flies.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: A Guess

                      Black flies are just a subset of early mosquito season.

          2. Joe W Silver badge

            Re: A Guess

            Actually last time I spent a few weeks in Boulder I arrived during a snowstorm at Denver Airport. The bus driver drove around the worst traffic jams on a dirt road in the muddy snow. Brilliant driving skills. Took like three hours to get there, but like the pony express he did make it. I still wonder how...

            Crazy weather, spent six weeks there, snowstorm every Monday... and by Tuesday the roads were clear again.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: A Guess

              snowstorm every Monday... and by Tuesday the roads were clear again

              A couple of years ago, I was at the Mountain Fastness outside Taos, New Mexico to get some work done on the place. Snowed all week, finally stopping Saturday morning. On Sunday it was 75F (24C) and I was mowing the lawn.

              In the winter here, we'll frequently wake up to a few inches of snow on the ground, and by mid-day it's gone anywhere that's not shaded. (On the north side of the house we'll have a patch that exactly matches the noon projection of the roof's shadow on the ground; that snow cover persists until May.)

          3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: A Guess

            in Colorado it is more likely to be Winter and Dust

            With occasional showers of tumbleweeds. I don't know how many of the damned things I've plucked out of my car's grill.

    4. cdrcat

      Gringos locos

      > best selling Ford F150, and Dodge sell a great many Ram's

      TIL: this is probably due to the 25% Chicken Tax which mostly affects light pick-up trucks.

    5. jake Silver badge

      Most of those F150s and Rams are 2WD, not 4X4s.

      And besides, as some wag once commented "4WD is the mechanism that allows city folks to get deeper into the brush before they get stuck".

  6. MJI Silver badge

    Sounds fun

    Shove it in neutral grab other lever, forwards left back. shove back in drive.


  7. chivo243 Silver badge

    Only once

    Our GPS sent us down a road in France, that quickly went from pavement, to semi-paved, to a tractor path, to mud. As soon as it became tractor path, I made a u-turn. On that same trip, our GPS sent us down the wrong way of a one-way...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only once

      I had TomTom trying to make me drive on the wrong side of the road, which gets really exciting at night when you get to a roundabout..

  8. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Did they report how many Tesla's on 'auto' followed Google's advice?

  9. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

    Iffy mapping

    My house, two years old, is a field according to Google Maps.

    So the ONE TIME it won't give me directions to a field...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Iffy mapping

      I once tried to give an ETA for someone driving the short journey from Stirling to Perth, so went to and entered Stirling and Perth, only to be told there was no route available. After a bit of faffing around I discovered it couldn't find a route from Stirling in Scotland to Perth in Australia.

      I also once noticed that it had swapped Wood Green, north London with Woodford Green in Essex...

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: Iffy mapping

        You're lucky. Sometimes when you do that (one continent to another) it'll tell you to take a canoe after arriving at the Port of Long Beach (on your way to Tokyo)...

  10. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Cue an an upsurge in Google showing adverts for tyre repairers, bodyshops and the like, based on tracking data

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      And field-recovery units for hire :)

  11. Andy Non Silver badge

    The technology is somewhat hit and miss

    I bought a Garmin satnav three years ago but it was rubbish. I took it back to Argos the following day as not fit for purpose / faulty. I tested it going somewhere I knew the route extremely well but it tried sending me off down irrelevant side streets in the opposite direction to my destination. So I bought a TomTom instead and I've never had any misdirections with it. Unlike an associate who I had arranged to meet at an airfield in rural Nottinghamshire a couple of weeks ago. I gave him the postcode of the farm property with the airfield and my TomTom took me straight there. However, my associate was using Apple maps and it took him to a village 6 miles away!

    I don't know if the problem is flaky data, flaky software, or both, but clearly some satnavs / data sources are better than others.

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: The technology is somewhat hit and miss

      I used to have a Tom-Tom, but got tired of it telling me to get out of the cornfields. Even with their most recent (at the time) maps they were not not taking into consideration that the highway US-24 had been relocated years before, having been rebuilt as a 4-lane divided highway instead of a 2-lane road. Apple was no better, because at the time they bought their mapping data from Tom Tom.

      1. NotBob

        Re: The technology is somewhat hit and miss

        Tom-tom is one of the few dedicated devices where you can actually fix that, though. Or, at least, it was back when I had one.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: The technology is somewhat hit and miss

        One better. The M1-M6 South junction was completed well before Honda did a maps update.And it's been years in the building. So there's been plenty of time to prepare. F*ing sat nav still tells me to " keep right," which now just leads down the vestigial M6 for a short distance then decants into rural roads. The new M1 slip road goes to the left.

        And the map update hasn't corrected this.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: The technology is somewhat hit and miss

      Locally ( North London) my car's built-in Honda satnav is set to quickest route. It still thinks that travelling away from my destination till I get to the North Circular one of it's slowest pinch points is quicker than the short hop in the right direction that either ignores the NCR and goes via normal A roads or gets on to the NCR further along after the slow moving traffic. 10+ minutes quicker at least.

    3. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge

      Re: The technology is somewhat hit and miss

      Some years ago I had a very early Garmin SatNav (I don't remember the model). I took a friend and her daughter to Disneyland Paris on the 4th July holiday (2006, I think), and used the SatNav to get me there. Coming out of Calais Tunnel terminal, it directed me up the coast into Belgium and then down an Autoroute back into France, eventually arriving at the hotel. On the way back we decided to drive into Paris first to visit the Eiffel Tower, and on the way out, followed the roadsigns to Calais, via the Autoroute. At every junction, the Garmin was screaming at me to leave the (direct) Autoroute and cross over to the other one, which ran parallel but several miles off to the North East. I ignored it and continued to follow the signs for Calais, and as we passed the last exit before Calais, the Garmin suddenly gave up and told me to continue straight on to the Tunnel terminal. I can only assume that the mapping did not include that last junction, and was therefor trying to send me by what it thought was the fastest route.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As with anything on the Internet, use with caution:

    But, I was driving around leMans during the week of the 24 hr race and the road closures varied depending of the day. Most of the the detours recommended by Waze worked, limited only by road connectivity. We soon recognized the few logical dead ends and our experience was greatly enhanced by the service.

  13. jake Silver badge

    During the meanwhile ...

    ... those of us who learned to drive before google and before GPS somehow manage to get about quite nicely without accidentally getting stuck in the mud. I wonder why that is?

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: During the meanwhile ...

      Before having a satnav, my wife used to navigate which often led to missing turn offs, going many miles out of our way and a bad atmosphere in the car. For me the TomTom was a marriage saver. Amusingly she now gets into verbal disputes with the satnav over the best route to take.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: During the meanwhile ...

        We had the same problem back when we were dating. I took over the navigation duties. Sorted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: During the meanwhile ...

          I used to ask my ex-wife at a junction " Is it clear?", she would answer "Yes" and as I pulled out, "there's a car coming". So I trained her by only asking "Is it safe to go?"

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: During the meanwhile ...

            Wait... why are you relying on information from a passenger? They're not driving and not responsible.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: During the meanwhile ...

        That's why mine is set to a female voice :). Easier to ignore when I think it's not quite as clued up as it ought to be, which has to do with my habit of finding alternative routes.

        Although I use a satnav to find a place, if I drive a route the next time I put in variations where possible. The result is that my brain starts mapping out where I am, and eventually develop a feeling for what is an actual alternative route, or where you're about to get yourself into trouble.

        I also use maps (or zoom out on a proposed route if it's electronic) so road signs still tell me something and I can see if there's something interesting I'm about to pass. Maps give you the big picture, a GPS only gives you tunnel vision on your destination.

        Maybe it's the industry I am in, but I like having alternatives and fallback options. Not a fan of a single point of failure..

      3. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge

        Re: During the meanwhile ...

        My wife was a really excellent navigator, and only once ever managed to get us lost. We were travelling somewhere in the middle of France, on our way south, when she told me to continue on the main road. At the next town she said "How did we get here? We should have gone through the village of ***** about ten Kilometers back, how did we miss it?" I turned around and drove back, eventually arriving at the previous town without going through *****, which didn't seem to actually exist. Turning around again, I drove the ten or so Kilometers to the point where the village should be, and stopped. Nothing around except fields, and the river running alongside the dual carriageway. SWMBO exclaims "What's that river doing there? It should be several Kilometers off to our left, not alongside on the right". Careful examination of the AA Road Book of Europe showed that the National road we were following was not on the map, and the old route had been downgraded to a Departmental, and we should have turned off the new road back at the previous town. Sanity was eventually restored, but SWMBO was extremely annoyed and upset that she had failed in her ability to know where we were.

    2. Aussie Doc

      Re: During the meanwhile ...

      We use different software: Windows For Meatbag.

      'Open' source, freely available, updated at each car wash.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: During the meanwhile ...

      "... those of us who learned to drive before google and before GPS somehow manage to get about quite nicely without accidentally getting stuck in the mud. I wonder why that is?"

      They did, but since it didn't involve new wonder technology that was going to save the world, it wasn't news.

  14. tekHedd

    That's just how Google Maps works

    Google treats our little neighborhood as a major shortcut, and no amount of reporting will change that. "Sucks to be you" seems to be Google's attitude.

  15. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Forced reroutes

    I'll sit there and plan a trip home from where I am, avoiding the worse of the roads, then fucking Google will go "we found a faster way!" and toss my carefully planned route for a ride down the deathtrap known as Interstate 4 in Orlando.


  16. Loatesy

    As a non-driving lifelong pedestrian and public transport user, might I suggest if you DO drive, and are going somewhere unfamiliar . . . plan your journey in advance. If that is not possible then simply follow road signs - that IS what they are there for.

    . . . just saying that it makes you wonder how drivers managed before sat-nav.

    Oh, wait, they used common sense.

  17. Bogbody

    Google maps? GPS guidance with senic routeswith no thought about access, narrow roads, impassible lanes.

    On a recent holiday in the Isle of Wright, Google tried to send me down narrow lanes 6' 6" max or lanes with grass in the middle, mostly on an indirect route! Why when the relevant A, B or C road was direct and quiet!

    I use GPS for quidance ( set to female voice, easy to ignore) - I have a couple of rules for car use... Dont go down a lane with grass in the middle, dont go down narrow (6' 6" limit) lanes and mostly dont use a lane with a hgv ban.

    Why? 'cos coming the oposite way will be a t-what in a wide speeding 4x4, a tractor/hgv/bus!!

    I stopped using google on the iow - the cars built in system gave better routes.

  18. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Memory Loss

    or have you all forgotten where the meme for Microsofts Flying Car came from??

    Hint - it regularly telling UK drivers to drive down the English Channel and across the North Sea.

    Locally, most satnav programs regularly decide that the gravel road into a quarry is the main road to Hereford, and all the lemmings follow it, despite HUGE signs telling them it isnt.

  19. Dabooka Silver badge

    This is nothing without pictures

    100 cars, surely there's pics and a video or two. I might search later and see what I can find

  20. Unbleached White Girl

    Let me count the ways..

    I can't even begin to count how many times I have gotten lost using Google maps. At least as many times by way of 'Gas Station Directions', altho that is usually due to eager overexplanation such as:

    "...when you see a battered, brown '65 Chevy under a Sycamore about 2 houses from the corner on the left, start looking for the 7th house on the right that is white with green trim and parked in front is a..." Sheesh, can't you just tell me the house number?

    Only worse is Google Earth - very likely the source of many a property line dispute. I've even been referred to GE by County Planning, who should know better.

    When my mother's landlord discovered a hippy dude cultivating cannabis on his property & went to the Sheriff's office, Deputy Fife asked him, "Are you SURE that's your property? Do you have your deed with you? Because it shows here..." And there it showed, on Google Earth, as sure as our President is a Post Turtle, that GE had granted the land in question to the hippy dude whose lot actually ended on the other side of the creek.

    So I deleted Google Earth, & instead of Google maps, I plot my course in advance, and choose the simplest possible way.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If I were a professional journalist, I would be highly embarrassed to have made up a fictitious unit of "kph" instead of writing the correct "km/h".

    Was somebody not paying any attention in basic maths lessons when they were at school?

    (Yes, I know I could use "Send corrections", but I see this particular error (and it is an error, not a typo) in just so many places nowadays, and it really is shamefully embarrassing and cringe-inducing.)

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: kph?

      If I were a professional journalist, I would be highly embarrassed to have made up a fictitious unit of "kph" instead of writing the correct "km/h".

      It should of course be km/h. And if you must use "per hour" then surely it should be kmph (as some old texts back in the day did) after all we're talking about kilometers (km) and not "kilos per hour".

      (Yes, I know I could use "Send corrections", but I see this particular error (and it is an error, not a typo) in just so many places nowadays, and it really is shamefully embarrassing and cringe-inducing.)

      British press seems to do insist on kph. I have no idea why.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: kph?

        British press seems to do insist on kph. I have no idea why.

        Some might do: it is probably because the UK tripped over half-way through introducing metric measures and never quite finished the job. Some possibly literate but sadly innumerate style guide editors probably think it looks "nicer" for "kph" [sic] to go along with "mph", ignoring the fact that it is quite simply the wrong way to write the measurement. (This could be easily 'fixed', if they used "mi/h" in place of "mph" instead.)

        Any publication which has even a whiff of science about it really should use "km/h", though.

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