Some People Still Can't Seem To Question Their Car's GPS

from the out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-germany dept

Welll, it's been over two years since we've had one of these stories here at Techdirt, but some people will still follow their GPS blindly despite every bit of common sense available telling them to do otherwise. Admittedly, for my money, the Darwin-Awards-esque fashion in which some folks will literally follow their GPS over a cliff, up a mountain, or into a drowning-inducing resevoir provide some of the best entertainment bang for the click as far as I'm concerned. And while, for comedy purposes, it may be tempting to litigate against Tom Tom under the notion that these drivers were seriously seeking out Bespin, Mount Olympus, and a mini-Atlantis respectively, the unfortunate truth is that these drivers were just dumb.

Pictured: what happens when you type 'Hoth' as your GPS destination
Image source: CC BY 2.0

Now we can add a lovely elderly woman from Belgium to the list of people who toss common sense to the curb in favor of their GPS, though she admittedly performed this action in such distinctive fashion as to separate herself from the pack.

The woman identified by Het Nieuwsblad as the 67-year-old Sabine Moureau told the paper: "I was absent-minded so I kept on putting my foot down."
Sabine started her journey in Erquelinnes on the morning of last Saturday week. "I was going to pick up my friend in the Brussels North Station" she told the paper. The journey should have taken just over an hour, but she ended up 1,450km from her starting point.
Yes, instead of reaching her destination in Brussels, which Google informs me is in Belgium, she concluded her GPS-led journey in Zagreb, which Google likewise informs me is in Croatia. For those of you who are as European-geography-challenged as I am, this means she essentially drove from the North Sea to the Adriatic Sea. If that doesn't help you much (And why would it? You've already said you're geography-challenged, dummy!), consider that Sabine's trek caused her to touch Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and finally Croatia, taking something like 12 hours. Perhaps this Google Maps link will really drive home the point.
Point C is where she began. Point B is where she wanted to go. Point D is where she did go. Think about that for a bit...

To Sabine's credit, she provides more than just the driving skills of an otter to laugh at. She has quotes, too!
"I saw tons of different signposts, first in French, later in German, but I kept on driving." Sabine had to fill up twice and slept a few hours by the wayside, but claims she never really caught on to the fact that she might be on the wrong track. "It was only when I ended up in Zagreb that I realised I was no longer in Belgium."
Well, I say bless your heart, you wonderfully trusting woman. Were it not for you, Techdirt may have gone 3 full years without a silly GPS story. On the other hand, one has to wonder if the friends you keep are cut from the same cloth as you, because I'd hate to think that your friend is still waiting at the Brussels North Station, wondering where the hell you are.


Filed Under: blind following, europe, gps

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2013 @ 3:53am


    Actually, it's not really related to the GPS itself in either case.

    If she mistyped, then the GPS was working correctly and she failed to apply common sense, logic and awareness of her surroundings to work out that she wasn't going in the right direction. She simply followed whatever the GPS was telling her, which is the problem. If the device was faulty in some way and she had entered the destination correctly, then the unit has some culpability but the above all still apply - at some point simply common sense should have overridden the GPS instructions.

    The real question isn't why the GPS was sending her where she went, it's why she put such blind trust in a device that was clearly sending her in the wrong direction, despite all the evidence around her to the contrary.

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