You cannot always trust GPS

@GardenGerty (99411)
United States
October 1, 2008 8:13am CST
This morning in New York a driver turned right, as the GPS directed. It ran head on into a train. The three people in the car got out safely, and no one on the train was hurt. This is the second accident at that location, caused by faulty GPS direction. The newscaster says, "How hard is it to look out the window?" I do not have GPS. I find MapQuest to be in error often, as well. Do you have GPS, or do you use a computer based direction source? I use Map Quest, but I also back it up with an atlas.
11 people like this
30 responses
@ravinskye (8242)
• United States
1 Oct 08
we've used mapquest and now we also have a gps. i usually check both and they are the same directions. our gps had been off once so far because the exit had changed locations. but we need to update our maps so it may be right on the updated maps. i don't think people can blame the gps for that accident. sure the gps was wrong, but 3 people in the car and not one of them could say "hey we shouldn't turn on the train tracks" ? when we go anywhere we don't blindly rely on the gps. i still check road signs and pay attention to where it is sending us.
4 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I felt the same way when I heard the news cast. I am sure I would notice I was turning on a train track, and not do it, especially if there was a train right in front of me. I am glad that no one was seriously injured. I have a long mapquest story I may relate sometime, but today is a busy day. We still have to use our eyes, ears, and minds.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Does this say that we are beginning to not use common sense, but instead rely heavily on technology? It seems pretty common. Someone is likely to file a lawsuit, and that would be too bad, because we do need to use our own brain.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Map quest didn't even know where my town was the last I knew. I live in NY and it came up with a Vermont Map. Surprised it didn't give up Canada, at least my part of NY used to be Canada, but I don't think it used to be Vermont.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I told it Mooers and it went right to Vermont and I didn't see one in VT, so who knows what's going on. Ours was for General Mooers who lived here. Wonder how they got the name.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Oct 08
On the tv they also said they were investigating and that the drivers should not only rely on the GPS.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I wonder,myself, if they just misinterpreted what they read on the GPS. I have never used one, and I am not familiar with the technology. I know sometimes even the road markers I am watching and following can be misinterpreted, and so I probably could easily misread a GPS as well. We all need to open our eyes.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I wonder,myself, if they just misinterpreted what they read on the GPS. I have never used one, and I am not familiar with the technology. I know sometimes even the road markers I am watching and following can be misinterpreted, and so I probably could easily misread a GPS as well. We all need to open our eyes.
2 people like this
@Myrrdin (3601)
• Canada
1 Oct 08
This is far from the GPS's fault, its a user error. Sure the GPS probably said in a friendly "Turn right here", however I don't care who's telling me to turn, if there is no road only tracks, or if there is a big train coming at me, I am NOT turning. Basic driving logic, trust the navigator but don't do EXACTLY as they say, I am not gonna turn left the moment the navigator (human or GPS) says turn left, I'll do it at the next available left hand turn. People can be so idiotic.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I know that I am not one to follow things blindly. I do not have GPS, it might be neat to have, but I still will do as you say, and turn where there is a road. Sounds like the learning curve is too great for some people.
2 people like this
@mentalward (14697)
• United States
2 Oct 08
That accident was not the fault of a faulty GPS system, it was the fault of the driver! The GPS may have said to turn right, but wouldn't you LOOK before turning, even without a GPS? That driver should have looked before he/she turned into that train. This reminds me of a story a guy I knew told me about his girlfriend. They were in a car, she was driving. She was in the left-hand lane of a two-lane road and pulled up behind a car with it's left-hand turn signal on, stopped at a red traffic light. The guy told her she should get into the right-hand lane so she can go instead of getting stuck behind the car trying to turn left. She got into the right-hand lane, and drove directly through the red light! She blamed him, but it was not his fault. HE wasn't driving, SHE was. The police would have said the same thing if she had gotten stopped. The driver of any vehicle is responsible for looking out for any dangers and to always, always look before turning! They are responsible for every move that car makes, no matter what anyone or anything says.
@mentalward (14697)
• United States
2 Oct 08
Oh, to answer your question, yes, I have a GPS navigation system. I only use it for long trips, though. If it is something shorter, I'll use MapQuest or some other online mapping tool. I usually check a couple of them to make sure the directions are the same before trusting those directions. If they're not, I'll use the GPS if I think I might get lost.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
2 Nov 08
Most dangerous part of the car is the nut behind the wheel.
1 person likes this
@mentalward (14697)
• United States
2 Nov 08
Hahahahaha! Isn't that the truth!?!
1 person likes this
@sunshine4 (8709)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I can't believe that they are blaming this on the gps. As the newscaster said, didn't the driver bother to watch where he was going! I can tell you that once my son took our gps to go to a restaurant in Buffalo and he ended up going into canada!!! That was with no birth certificate or anything. He had a harder time getting back into NY than he did getting into Canada. We use a gps, but usually will print out on mapquest too, just incase.
2 people like this
@webeishere (36353)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Were they looking at the GPS display and not the road they were traveling? Unreal. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!~
1 person likes this
@sunshine4 (8709)
• United States
1 Oct 08
They were following the turn right here, turn left here...not knowing at all where they were going. It was so funny when he told me the story!
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Of course we have to blame the technologyWho would admit to being so engrossed that they could not see a train. Like the old saying, "If your friend (or your GPS) told you to jump off a tall building, would you?"
@chertsy (3805)
• United States
17 Oct 08
I find this funny, because I mean you see where your going because your driving. I want a GPS, only because I can't find my way out of a paperbag. Now maybe the driver was looking down at the GPS before turning right, but what was the other two passengers doing that would have prevented the driver from heading towards a train. Currently I use computer based directions and those are sometimes wrong, so if a GPS is going to be wrong, I rather it being told to me. Than having to look down every minutes to read the paper and risking running off the road or into another driver. Before I buy a GPS, I will research it and compare others and prices, hopefully they will go on sale after Thanksgiving.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
17 Oct 08
You would wonder about them not even looking where they were being driven. I will hope for you for good prices after Thanksgiving. Maybe you will get one for Christmas.
2 people like this
@chertsy (3805)
• United States
17 Oct 08
I know when I'm riding with someone and there is kids with us, my eyes and ears are wide open to what's going on around me. So no telling what those two passengers was doing to be so distracted. Thank you, I have been wanting one for the longest, It will come in handy when I go visit my family that lives almost 2 hours away. Also thank you for best reponse.
2 people like this
• India
1 Oct 08
Hi friend, If we go out,we generally take GPS with us and with the directions it gives,we go.We blindly follow it.But after reading your discussion,i feel i should be careful in finding out the way. Thanks for your discussion. Have a nice day.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I hope that you are careful. Your brain is better than any computer. GPS is a help, but it can fail.
1 person likes this
• India
3 Oct 08
Ya i too agree with you.But if you are new to a place and if no body is there to help you out to reach your destination that you have to depend upon one thing.Because of that i am depending upon GPS,if i get use to this place than i will go by own. Have a nice day.
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
2 Nov 08
Turn right here...and it is 2 driveways before the real street. GPS is wonderful..but you must use common sense...a turning on to train tracks...this is just plain stupidity. It sound cruel...but people just don't think. I am sorry. It is not the GPS fault.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
2 Nov 08
Common sense is becoming less and less common.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Oct 08
I can't trust my instincts, that's what I can't trust. People have forgotten or never learned how to read a map so they rely on computers to guide them. A computer only knows what you tell it, if you tell it something wrong it doesn't know, its only a piece for data entry. I don't use GPS but I'm thinking about getting it because we travel so much and I sometimes need to find something that close and a map just doesn't give that detail.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
2 Nov 08
My family always joked that whatever way my instincts said to turn, we should go the other way.
1 person likes this
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
2 Oct 08
I use MapQuest.com as well, I do not have a GPS nor have I ever used one. I use a map and MapQuest.com to help me in my directional needs. Maybe some places have changed and they haven't changed that in the GPS map system yet..But as you said couldn't they have seen that it was the wrong way if they paid more attention to where they were headed?
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
2 Nov 08
I think some people just rely too much on technology. I use mapquest, but I also use a map, and read road signs. I still can get lost, but I do not think I would drive head on into a train.
1 person likes this
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I have never used one. I have thought about getting one, but definitely would also stay aware of where it was sending me. I usually just get directions off of the mapquest site.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I do use MapQuest, if I am looking for directions, but we often go ahead and check a map out as well. If it is a long ways, we also ask locally about things.
1 person likes this
@babystar1 (4236)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I dont have GPS. But my son does and so far he had no problem with it. Wonder why the people in the car did not see the train coming, that would be the first thing I would see if I was driving.Glad to here that no one was hurt.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Did not see it, did not hear it, I have not heard why. A train is required by law to blast its horn before it gets to an intersection, so I am sure it was. Since it was head on, I am also sure that big white light was shining and the driver should have noticed it.
1 person likes this
@JoyfulOne (6242)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Sheesh! Wouldn't you think common sense would over-ride a GPS system?! While GPS is meant to be a help, I don't think it's always 100% correct, and should be used as a help...not an infallable. It doesn't know if traffic has been re-routed, like if a road bridge is out, nor can it tell other important stuff like that. Not sure, but I think this is the second train/car accident I've read about where people blamed their GPS for it, and I'm sure there are probably many more instances we haven't heard about. I use MapQuest a lot too. Just like you I find it to often be in error, and carry my car atlas to check on. The company my one daughter works for sends her out of town to deliver patients to this other hospital system. They print out a MapQuest for her, and in this one area of town the MapQuest is totally 'off'...as is the regular state map! Lots of times anymore I'll ask AAA for a trip tik to get to an area far from home that I haven't been too. At least they know when a road's temporarily closed and all that. (Well, more often than GPS or MapQuest anyways.)
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
I believe this is the second one at this location, also blamed on GPS. Yes, this is only as good as the people who program the systems, and things change on a daily basis.
1 person likes this
@animeniak (425)
• United States
2 Oct 08
Well, that's really nothing new to me. This really reminds me of the time when I tried to get to the place where I can get my computer fixed, I used a GPS back then. I got lost, and yes, that happens sometimes. But with that being said, I spent like 2-3 hours with the GPS (a little p.o.s) trying to reach my destination. That thing... either the ones who manufactures GPS should do a better job programming it, or maybe it should be just banned out of the market. I heard a story which took place in Canada or Australia, I don't know where. But the driver in either one of those places was using a GPS. The driver turned right, and just went straight as the GPS directed him/her to. And guess what? Oh no, the driver ended up driving toward the end of the cliff, and he fell off of cliff inside the car for like... a couple hundred feet??? sad... The GPS integrated in the car or the ones you buy from the stores, it is pretty cool idea that you can have a little gadget in your car that tells you where to go in order to reach your destination, but the false programming which makes the GPS to guide you toward the wrong direction... should be banned out of the market (is what I think). happy mylotting :)
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
2 Oct 08
I wonder if something happens to them to mess up their programming. That is sad.
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
1 Oct 08
I am not a driver, so I don't use either of these things, but it really is good to know. It is hard though when you really don't know where you are going and you have no idea if these systems are steering you in the right direction of 50 miles off course.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
2 Oct 08
I like them for the generalized directions, most of the time, although MapQuest did send me on a wild goose chase through the mud on a rainy day my first day of a class and hour and a half from my home. I got ready to go back home after class and the gal in a little shop said, "Honey, look out there, just get on that highway and it will take you straight where you need to go." Usually it is not that far off, just little details of local streets, that the citizens know better.
@drannhh (15227)
• United States
1 Oct 08
This is another example of why people need to remember that they are the people and the computer thingees are just tools. The people still need to take personal responsibility and stay in charge. I think dri vers need to drive when the wheels of the vehicle are turning and pull over to look at their GPS. Same thing with answering the cell phone. I see no reason why people should be so enslaved to their technology as to feel the need to answer the phone while driving a vehicle. Part of maturity, it seems to me, it being able to understand priorities and act responsibly in connection with them rather than giving in to instant gratification.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
2 Oct 08
In general we seem to be getting less and less mature, and less and less independent.
@Hatley (164652)
• Garden Grove, California
1 Oct 08
hi gardengerty I think the old fashioned way of using ones eyes and one good atlas and map are the safest ' way to travel. if the gps works fine, but if it doesnt 'then back to the basics.electronic gizmos are fine 'as longas they work, but the basics can be used if' need be.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Sometimes I feel as if we have lost some of our skills by relying on technology.
@mojcica (1512)
• Slovenia
1 Oct 08
You cant blame that on GPS. Its just plain silly to rely only on GPS. It is only a help not an all in all solution.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99411)
• United States
1 Oct 08
That is correct. It is not infallible. We have to use our eyes and ears and reason with our brains to make good choices.
@kenzie45230 (3560)
• United States
1 Oct 08
Boy those GPS thingies. My sister and I (plus my son and her 3 daughers) were out in Colorado for a wedding in an area where none of us had ever been. She brought along her GPS unit to put in the rental car. Finding the dude ranch where we were staying was easy. But when we tried going site-seeing, it was a joke. The GPS thingy kept trying to get us to turn into a brick wall at one point. And when we refused to turn that way, the female computer voice kept telling us to find a way to make a legal u-turn and try again. We finally had to turn the thing off.
1 person likes this