On a day when Google Maps has announced new commuter focused features that will be able to predict how crowded your rush hour train or bus may be, there is also a reminder that navigation apps don’t necessarily mean those who use them should shut off their instincts. As many as 100 drivers in the US state of Colorado learnt it the hard way, when they ended up stuck in a muddy field, after Google Maps suggested a detour which would be a quicker way instead.
A crash on Peña Boulevard, a road leading to Denver International Airport, prompted the navigation app to take drivers on a detour, to save time, according to a report by CNN. The alternate route instead took these vehicles down a dirt road, which had become even more messy because of the prior rain. Soon enough, cars started to slide around, some got stuck which in turn meant that the vehicles behind them also had no way around.
Google has said the road was not marked as private. "We take many factors into account when determining driving routes, including the size of the road and the directness of the route. While we always work to provide the best directions, issues can arise due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather. We encourage all drivers to follow local laws, stay attentive, and use their best judgment while driving," the company said in the reported statement.
This is not the first time that Google Maps has navigated people into trouble. But we cannot always fault technology, though it does have to shoulder its share of the blame. However, the onus remains on the drivers and the people using the navigation apps to not shut off their instincts. If a suggested path doesn't look entirely charming, don't drive into it.