Tuesday, 19 May 2009

10 Sat-Nav Disasters

Satellite navigation systems have revolutionised driving over the past decade or so, saving us time and fuel - and a whole lot of arguments with backseat drivers and map-readers too! But sometimes things can go wrong. Very wrong. Here are some of the worst sat-nav mishaps from around the globe - and some advice on how you can avoid them.

  • Cars and water don't mix, as a driver in Glubczyce, Poland, found out. He doggedly followed the instructions of his sat-nav - ignoring the road signs telling him that the road ahead was closed - and drove straight into the middle of a reservoir. Fortunately the man and his passengers clambered onto the roof of the car and were rescued by the emergency services.

  • In 2008, Syrian lorry driver Necdet Bakimci found himself stranded on a nature reserve in Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire. He was 1,600 miles from his intended destination: Gibraltar, on the southern tip of Spain. Confusingly, his sat-nav system listed Gibraltar as being in the UK (because it's a colonial outpost). Confronted with a choice of two Gibraltars, both seemingly in the British Isles, Bakimci and his cargo of luxury cars took a 3,200 mile detour.

  • Want to move up in the world? Then buy a car at auction. When police sold the Duchess of York's Jaguar, the lucky buyer got more than he bargained for. The car's in-built sat-nav system was programmed with the address shared by the Duchess and her daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, along with locations of some of the favourite haunts of Britain's aristocracy.

  • Villagers in Exton, in southern England, were so used to trucks getting stuck down a two-metre wide country lane that the council put up signs telling drivers to ignore their sat-navs and take a different route. Dozy HGV drivers who relied on their GPS devices had to reverse half a mile, causing damage to hedges and fences, in order to turn around.

  • Police in Victoria, Australia have urged drivers not to discard their old-fashioned maps. An increasing number of motorists have been stranded after relying on their GPS systems, getting taken on routes that are only accessible to four-wheel drive vehicles. Many parts of Australia do not have up-to-date digital mapping and sat-nav companies have been relying on data that can be up to ten years out of date.

  • Zhou Xia and Zhao Na Na's crime spree came to an abrupt end when they were stopped by police in Doncaster, Yorkshire. They were found carrying thousands of Euros and a number of stolen credit cards. But the most damning evidence was the sat-nav device, programmed with the addresses of all the Post Offices that they had defrauded.

  • State troopers in Vermont, USA have called for GPS users to exercise common sense after a series of inattentive drivers found themselves following snowmobile trails. One soldier from Fort Drum, NY, drove so deeply onto a trail that police had to use a snow tractor to drag him to safety.

  • A hospital patient on a ward transfer got taken on an eight-hour magical mystery tour, thanks to bungling London ambulance drivers. Blindly trusting their sat-nav device, the ambulance crew took the patient to a hospital on the outskirts of Manchester, 200 miles away, when they were supposed to travel a mere 12 miles to Brentwood, Essex.

  • Doncaster man Robert Jones had the shock of his life when he found his BMW 5-series teetering on the edge of a steep drop. Following instructions from his sat-nav, the professional driver found himself on a narrow pedestrian lane in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. The 43-year old is due to appear in court on a charge of driving without due care and attention.

  • Redditch woman Paula Ceely cheated death en route to her boyfriend's house in Wales. Her sat-nav system took her to a large metal gate. Certain that this was the correct route, she opened the gate and, moments later, found herself in the path of a railway train. She jumped out of the way as the train smashed into her Renault Clio and carried it down the track. 'I'll never use a sat-nav again,' she told the Daily Telegraph.
On seeing this I am considering never using mine again.......

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