Go Home, Google Maps – You’re Drunk!

When the iOS 6 of Apple Maps was released in 2012, it caught a lot of flack because it had a tendency to misdirect people. At the time, incidents like these were common:

  • The Star Tribune wrote that iOS 6 Maps directed patients to a hospital that had closed in 1985
  • The Anchorage Daily News reported that drivers trying to get to Fairbanks International Airport via Apple Maps were being directed into the path of oncoming planes (specifically onto Taxiway Bravo of the airport)
  • CNET wrote that Apple Maps was getting drivers lost in the Australian outback, 40 miles from where they were supposed to be.

Even the staff at Hackney Wick Station in east London had something to say about the early years of Apple Maps…

Map.jpg

So at the time, Google Maps was lauded and applauded.

Times have changed though – Apple Maps has had upgrade after upgrade and is (usually) safe to use nowadays. Google Maps, on the other hand, apparently just tore out a page from iOS 6’s handbook and said, “Hold my beer…”

About 100 drivers who were trying to find a faster route around an accident site earlier this week found themselves in a muddy mess, thanks to a Google Maps suggestion.

A crash on a road leading to Denver International Airport was causing a traffic backup and therefore prompted the app to take drivers on a detour.

One driver said the time with the suggested rerouting was half that of what would be required to take the original route past the crash, so she followed Google Maps’ suggested detour. She saw several other cars going the same way, so she figured it was OK.

Unfortunately, the paved road eventually became just a dirt road, when then soon became a narrow, wet, slick mud road due to some recent rain in the area. Eventually there were dozens of cars backed up because a few vehicles couldn’t make it through the mud. The road had a field on either side of it, as well as a ditch, which made turning around nearly impossible, as well.

Here’s how the incident was described on Good Morning America:

Google’s response to the incident:

“We take many factors into account when determining driving routes, including the size of the road and the directness of the route,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News. “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 judgement while driving.”

According to the nearby cities of Denver and Aurora, the road is privately owned and maintained. I’m not sure why Google thought a private road would be the “best directions,” but there ya go.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

3 thoughts on “Go Home, Google Maps – You’re Drunk!”

  1. I find it puzzling that many moving trucks and similar large vehicles are directed to my neighborhood’s back gate, which is for residents only and can NOT fit larger vehicles or trailers, yet my Google Maps doesn’t even know the gate exists and tries to route me back out the front EVERY time I use it!

    1. Years ago I had to drive to a facility in a neighborhood I wasn’t super familiar with, and I only visited every 4-6 months or so, so I’d use Google Maps to get me there the first few times. Every single time, it wanted me to drive through a field. Really? Really??? 😉

      1. I bet what happened is that Google got an update from the city planning office (or similar) showing a road being dedicated through the field, but no one verified that it was still just on paper and not actually constructed yet. I see that sometimes, and also in reverse, where the aerial photo shows a new road, but the map hasn’t picked it up yet.

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