Don’t Turn Your Brain Off; When You Turn You’re Sat-Nav On
There’s lots of talk and grumping and groaning about Satellite Navigation systems, with people complaining that they’ve been mislead by them, or taken somewhere completely different, or ended up on dead end roads or even worse, driven off a cliff or into a river because they followed their instructions.
ROSPA however say that “A well used Sat Nav can help drivers plan routes and prevent drivers from making last minute lane changes or hesitating because they are not sure of the directions” So these are good things and used properly, can help avoid accidents if used properly.
Truth of this is that clearly, some drivers turn their brains off, at exactly the same time as they turn their Sat-Nav’s on, totally relying on their chatty lady in the dashboard to get them where they are going, forgetting that Sat-Nav’s are there to help drivers, not replace them.
A recent survey claimed that 83% of British drivers have been mislead by their Sat Nav systems, and that over £200 million pounds worth of damage has been caused in just the last year in accidents caused by drivers going the wrong way. Claims say that the government is so worried that it’s going to hold a “Sat Nav Summit” to look at the problem.
So this got us thinking about the silly stories we’ve read where Sat Nav systems have been “apparently” responsible for things going wrong, so we though we would list a few, for your delectation, although clearly, we don’t know for 100% certain they are true, but for sure, some are and it would be great to think they all are!
A notorious group of armed bank robbers were caught when their getaway driver used his sat nav to locate the locations for their raids. They got caught and the police happened to look at the drivers TomTom only to find the addresses of previous raids were all stored on the device, enabling the Flying Squad to tie the group into lots of other robberies, which saw them banged up for a total of 71 years. I guess there is a lesson here and that’s if you’re not going back, delete the route!
Network Rail workers found a driver standing beside his Fiesta, which was stuck on the rail tracks after his sat nav told him to turn right (meaning at the next junction), but the driver turned right at the level crossing before and made it 20 foot along the tracks before grinding to a halt. Police breathalysed the driver, who needless to say, failed!
Even the Royals fall foul of the sat-nav, as Earl Spencer’s daughter Katya found herself 146 miles away from where she needed to be after here cab driver made a sat-nav bungle and rather than taking her to watch Chelsea play Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, took the posh footy fan ended up in the small North Yorkshire village of Stamford Bridge. Own goal there eh?
Paramedics transferring a patient between two Essex hospitals that were just 7.8 miles apart, found themselves sent to Manchester by their sat-nav and the journey that should have taken under 30 minutes took 8 hours during which time they covered 430 miles!
A 47 year old Hungarian truck driver delivering Olive Oil to Waitrose in the Dutch quarter of Colchester in Essex followed his sat-nav instructions, causing his 30-ton lorry jack knifing on a tight corner and getting stuck between rows of precious Grade1 listed buildings, whilst the trucks tyres exploded causing even more damage. Clean up bill was £115,000 comprising £80,000 of spilled olive oil, £15,000 damage to a 17th century house and £20,000 for the written off trailer. The mess took 16 hours to clear up and the non-English speaking driver was let off with a fine of just £40
Al Byrd from Georgia in the United States returned home to find the house he had built and lived in with his family for over 50 years had been totally demolished due to the demolition team being sent to the wrong address by their Sat-Nav system.
An errant school bus driver took a complete class of kids from a Junior School in Kent to Hampton Court in Islington, rather than to Henry V11’s swanky former home of Hampton Court Palace and worse still, it was only after the teacher realizing that the only significant landmark was the Highbury & Islington Tube Station, that the mistake was discovered!
Cabbies again, but this time one of Norfolk’s finest, who found himself 200 yards downstream before his cab got stuck on a mud bank in the River Nar, near Swaffham after following the advice of his sat nav. Norfolk, so a tractor was quickly called to drag the cab back to solid ground and whilst you’ve got to question this mans judgment, it gets even worse when you find out that he was the boss of the Taxi company!
A Belgian truck driver sent up the wrong road for his 30 ton truck tried to manoeuvre out but in doing, he flattened a mini roundabout and got a car jammed underneath his rig – that’s not cheap. Meanwhile, another trucker (you would think they would know better) ended up taking his load to Gibraltar Point in Skegness, rather “the Rock of Gibraltar”, which puts him only 1600 miles off course. Another trucker saw his truck slip into a ditch using his sat-nav’s instructions and the locals saw an important road closed for 5 days as they tried to remove the truck using a digger.
Two Swedish holiday makers holidaying in Italy set their sat-nav to take them to the beautiful isle of Capri, but in fact, found themselves 400 miles away in the industrial town of “Carpi”.
50 workers of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society on a Christmas shopping trip to France saw themselves around 7 hours of course, after their bus driver took them 98 miles away to the pretty little Belgium village of Lille, so not only was the driver in the wrong town, he was actually in the wrong country. Things however got sorted out and a re-route back to the “other Lille” in France saw the group managed to get 2 hours shopping in before everything closed for the day.
Residents of a picturesque hamlet in Shropshire found themselves over-run by “Army Tanks” as soldiers looking for barracks were directed there rather than to a village of the same name 15 miles away
So maybe Sat-Nav’s are not perfect, they are only a guide and just like real people, they make mistakes, but when you just think of how many millions of people use them and rely on them every day, surely you’ve got to assume the things we listed above are down to that most famous of components, the nut behind the wheel.