The Top 10 List of Worst GPS Disasters and Sat Nav Mistakes

The Top 10 List of Worst GPS Disasters and Sat Nav Mistakes

Despite GPS being one of the world’s most popular and useful gadgets, there are still examples where people don’t quite seem to get it right.  Would you honestly trust your sat nav or GPS device that much to follow it blindly into a river?  Surely there’s comes a point where common sense prevails?

Well, not for this selection of drivers who have experienced the worst GPS disasters and sat nav foul-ups of all time… don’t be surprised to see some of these people featuring in the Darwin Awards anytime soon.  Read on to see the world’s most stupid people who really messed up and followed their GPS and sat nav directions to the absolute limit and ended up in some very sticky situations.

1. Dozy Driver Takes GPS Directions Onto a Railway Line

Satlegh Mohammadi drove down 6 meters of railway line after telling the police officers responding to the scene that his sat nav and GPS has directed him to do so.  Thankfully for Satlegh (surely that name is made up?), alert railway workers saw him careering down the tracks in his small Ford Fiesta and were able to phone the local constabulary in the UK.

The dozy driver told police that the sat nav had told him to take a right at the level crossing – in mitigation though (for the sat nav, not him), he was found to be under the influence of alcohol whilst driving which might go some way to explaining this GPS disaster.

2. Girls Crash into Lake Following Bad GPS Directions

One now from the United States, this time involving two girls who ended up driving into a lake – because their GPS and sat nav told them to!  The three girls had hired an SUV and blamed a bad GPS for leading them into danger.

The girls in question survived the incident but divers were needed in order to help recover the Mercedes from the lake using a tow truck.  You can watch the video below from the local news channel which covered this horrendous sat nav error.

3. Japanese Tourists Drive into the Pacific Ocean Because of Their GPS

Following on with the water based theme is this story concerns a group of Japanese tourists who had hired a car in Brisbane, Australia.  Being in an unfamiliar country and driving on unknown roads is never the easiest of things, but surely they must have seen the Pacific Ocean approaching as they drove their hire car into the waves?  Apparently not and despite Japan being the home of technology perhaps these guys needs a few refresher points on how to use their GPS sat nav?

One of the tourists was quoted as saying that the GPS “told us we could drive down there. It kept saying it would navigate us to a road. We got stuck… There’s lots of mud”.  Quite.  Watch the video below to see some hilarious footage of this classic sat nav foul-up.

4. Truck Driver Jailed Over GPS Mistake

You would think that an army veteran might have better navigational sense, but this wasn’t the case with Doug Madison in the USA.  This guy had to spend Christmas behind bars after driving a chemical tanker onto country roads that were only meant to have a 10 ton weight limit.

Doug Madison told the local court sentencing him that his GPS and sat nav told him to come off Interstate 79.  He was eventually locked up for 10 days and told the local news TV channel that he thought the punishment was unjustified.

5. English Woman Drives Mercedes into a River Using Sat Nav

Mercedes in the River SenceOne from the UK now, where a woman drove a £96,000 Mercedes into the River Sence (perhaps she could use some “sense”?).  This was another case of a person blindly following their sat nav directions, despite there being clear road signs saying that there was a rather large body of water right up ahead.

An eye witness account recalled water gushing through the car’s windows and pushing it 200 metres down the river where it bounced from one river bank to the next.  Thankfully nobody was hurt – apart from the woman’s pride.

6. Office Christmas Party Comes to an Abrupt End in Belgium

Workers from the Cheltenham and Gloucester building society in England decided to celebrate Christmas with a day out to France – but ended up in Belgium after driving to the wrong place.  Unfortunately the village of Lille in Belgium is quite different to the city Lille in France, but these daft workers ended up driving 98 miles off course in their fun bus.

Eventually the intrepid explorers managed to get to the right destination where they had two hours left to do their Christmas shopping.  We hope they managed to buy a European map before their journey back.

7. Austrian Limo Driver Follows GPS Down Flight of Steps

A Limousine is the most stylish way to travel… apart from when it’s bouncing down a set of concrete steps in a busy Austrian city center.  This one happened in Salzburg when the chauffeur decided he would completely trust the GPS, but as we are beginning to see that can sometimes lead to a GPS disaster.

According to the driver, he believed that he could drive straight to the entrance of a busy shop but ended up taking himself, the limo, and his boss down a steep flight of steps instead.  Nobody was injured, but apparently the chauffeur is now has a new career in air traffic control.  Comforting.  Not.

8. Truck Drivers Takes 1,600 Mile Detour Due to Sat Nav

Surely this is the longest ever detour taken due to a GPS mistake and sat nav disaster? Bird watchers at Gibraltar Point in England looked on in astonishment as a Syrian truck driver drove a 32 ton vehicle down a small road towards the North Sea.  When stopped he said he was trying to get to Gibraltar – which just so happens to be a small island around 1,600 miles away off the coast of Spain.

When questioned he said he had typed in the directions for Gibraltar into his GPS device and went off on his merry way.  It is not known whether the man still works in the truck industry.  You can watch a news report video on the BBC website by clicking on the image below.

Lorry Driver Follows GPS to Gibraltar via Skegness

9. GPS Sends Travelers Nearly Off the End of a Cliff in Utah

This GPS horror story highlight an example where a group of travelers using a caravan nearly died due to their sat nav directions going wrong with almost deadly consequences.  The group was driving through Utah in the United States on vacation when becoming lost in the wilderness.  On this dark night they escaped from death when just managing to stop before driving off a cliff.  They were lucky to stop just in time and a search and rescue team was dispatched to bring all 25 travelers to safety the following morning.

You can view the CBS news report video below which includes an interview with the “lucky to be alive” driver which also has some other sat nav horror stories from around the World.

10. Swiss Van Drivers Heads Up Mountain Using Sat Nav

You’ve probably heard about GPS disasters and mistakes where someone nearly drives off a cliff like the example above… but how about nearly driving up one?  Robert Ziegler was taking his van’s GPS directions as gospel whilst driving in Switzerland and ended up getting stuck up a mountain path.

He was quoted as saying that “I kept hoping each little turn would get me back to the main road.  In the end, it told me to turn around, but, of course, I couldn’t by then”.

The hapless van driver had to call upon the Swiss mountain rescue team to get him out of this one, with the rescue attempt involving a whole team of mountaineers and even a helicopter.

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Jerry Adkins

Thanks for visiting GPS Bites. I started the website in 2012 to give advice on all matters regarding GPS and navigation. Prior to this I was the marketing manager for a global GPS device company.

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