Please Note: Your GPS System Doesn't Know The Depth Of The Flooded Road

from the when-machines-take-over dept

We've talked in the past about how when you have a computer aid you in a decision making process the tendency sometimes is to begin to trust the computer over your own common sense. Still, you would think there are some limits. Earlier this month, lots of folks were talking about a story in the UK where a car navigation system was leading people to the edge of a cliff -- though, no one had yet driven over the edge (a few did get stuck). However, Engadget now points to an even more extreme example (also in the UK), where people are so trusting of their GPS system that they're driving right into extremely deep water, on a road that's been closed due to flooding. There are warning signs about the road being closed, and the water itself looks pretty obvious. However, there are apparently one or two drivers per day who are so trusting of their GPS system that they try to drive right on through -- only to have to be rescued. In some ways this might not be that surprising. Drivers often don't do a very good job estimating the depth of water hazards -- and often feel they can drive right on through. On top of that, if you're in an area where you're unfamiliar with the roads, it can be unnerving, so some people may feel they have to trust their GPS system (forgetting that most will recalculate a path if the road you want is no good). Still, though, you would think that the signs announcing the road as being closed, and the amount of water present, would be a tip off that something was problematic.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2006 @ 11:49pm

    hah

    First you have common sense to not listen to it, pitty most of the population has none so they have to listen to something.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Laughing, Apr 20th, 2006 @ 11:50pm

    Bah, damn thing didn't keep my nick....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Fred, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 12:08am

    It doesn't take much depth at alll

    Cars are as light as it's safe to make them and they're filled with air. If I remember the Red Cross safety materials right, water only a couple of feet deep can unstick a car from the pavement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Paul, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 12:43am

    Ohhh...

    So bad GPS is why in cartoons they always run into the wall that is painted like a tunnel...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    JPerks, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 1:00am

    Forget the rescue teams. Let natural selection take its course.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Tim, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 1:55am

    Quick clarification

    One road was closed due to flooding, and the Sat-Nav's recommended diversion was through a ford, i.e. a road across/through a river; the depth of the river, and thus the passability of the ford, varies.

    More here at Channel 4 News (UK).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 3:26am

    Quick CNN, do a study on the dangers of using GPS while driving! How bout GPS and Cellphones... AT THE SAME TIME... DOUBLEWHAMMY!

    And while we`re talking about cars driving off of cliffs and into dams: why the hell are we still driving around in cars powered by fossil fuels? Where the hell is my floating car? Goddamnit, every futuristic show in the 80`s predicted I´d be cruising in my very own flying automobile with optional timetravel by 2001.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 3:27am

    I'll bet that only 1 of the 'several people per day' trying to pass this point actually had GPS and thus make it newsworthy when the rescue team notices/asks about it.
    This isnt news, people have been doing this for years. With or without computer assistance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Louis, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 3:27am

    uhm

    Where`s my nick?

    Goddamnit. I wrote that thing about the flying cars above. You don`t have to trace my ip.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Peter Griffen, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 6:12am

    I once hit a TV satellite dish.....I didnt have GPS which goes to prove people are stupid.....

    New policy...you do something stupid and get into deep s**t...in this case, water, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN! It's population control. Take the damn warnings down...make people actually use their brains instead on relying on society to make all their decisions for them (which they arent allowed to do that either because it's against the 'basic american rights').

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    bobu, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 6:21am

    Dare for more

    But it's flooded!
    Don't warry there is no sugar :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Captain Obvious, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 6:30am

    No Detour Sign?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    jj, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 7:33am

    GPS Implantable chips

    Anyone with info on the progress of getting implantable chips to market. Kids are being kidnapped everywhere

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Blanc0, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 7:45am

    Why Knight Rider got canceled

    KITT: ~~Please turn left in 100 Meters~~
    Micheal Knight: What, here? Are you crazy!?
    KITT: ~~Please turn left in 50 Meters~~
    Micheal Knight: Duh ok if you insist

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    alternatives, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 7:50am

    Re: GPS Implantable chips

    Kids are being kidnapped everywhere

    Yea...was walking down the street, POOF! the kid across the street dissapeared! At the mall, POOF! And even in the schools POOF!

    In fact, I expect another kid napping...NOW

    NO CARRIER

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    WoW, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 8:36am

    Forget the rescue teams. Let natural selection take its course.


    Hell YES! Everyone in favor of Population Control say AYE!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Chris, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 9:05am

    A Solution

    Why don't they take pictures of these stuck cars, make a giant blowup picture of it and paste it on a sign? It seems that this would act as sufficient warning that they shouldn't try it themsleves. One to two a day? Who are these idiots?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 11:06am

    population control

    AYE!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Tom, Apr 21st, 2006 @ 2:01pm

    I don't know about you, but in light of this development I'm upgrading to the Oregon Trail GPS 700R unit. It has cool DOS graphics and keeps track of which of your passengers do and do not have dysentery (very useful). Most importantly, the new model asks you if you'd like to ford the river.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Agonizing Fury, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 6:19am

    Yes it does!

    My GPS will tell me the elevation of the land under the water as well as my current elevation at the edge of the water (pretty close to the level of the water) so I knew last time I came upon a flooded road that the road was actually 15 feet above the water (although I couldn't see it) so of course I cold make it through....

    Stupid GPS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    ConceptJunkie (profile), Jul 26th, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Ohhh...

    Yes, but drivers in Plymouth RoadRunners could go right through the painting as if it were real...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2006 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Yes it does!

    I just have to say THAT was funny!

    Everywhere is 15 feet above where I'm at, too!

    LOL!

    Oh, and YEA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2006 @ 12:27pm

    ...I mean, AYE! :-P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Oldbear, Jul 26th, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    Re:

    AYE!!! I lived four houses from a bus trap(big hole in the road to stop cars, but let buses through) - At least once a week we would hear the big thud of a car landing in the trap. A 3ft X 4ft sign that warned of the hole, a big picture of a car in a hole, and of course the gaint-gapping-hole - still the drivers would try to get through. Then the knock on the door for a rope or help (would have called the parking police by then).
    It al just proves that the majority of people are just to stupid to live - only all the safety devices and rules are keeping them around.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 4:21pm

    how do you estimate the depht of water on the road

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This