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GPS While Traveling: Use At Your Own Discretion

Travel Safety — By Carlo Alcos on August 9, 2010 at 10:01 am
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What are the dangers of blindly following GPS? Here are a few examples where common sense and a paper map may have been more handy than technology.

1. Australian family stranded in Outback for three days

Unbelievably (yet very believable), an Aussie family of four and their dog turned down a road closed by heavy rainfall and bogged their “ute” (Aussie slang for utility vehicle; half car, half truck) in deep mud. They were traveling between Brisbane and Perth when their GPS unit advised them to turn onto Darling River Road. They did so, despite posted warning signs. They immediately called the police, but because of poor weather conditions, it took three days for help to arrive.

2. Norwegian tourists shot at in Rio de Janeiro slum

In 2008, three Norwegian tourists were trying to return their rental car at the airport after visiting a beach resort. Their GPS unit showed them the quickest way to the airport, right through the Mare slum complex, one of the most dangerous in the city. They were shot at, with one of the men — Trygve Killingtveit — getting hit in the shoulder. It’s believed that the shooters were drug traffickers, although there was no clear motivation for the shooting.

3. Man collides with train and blames GPS

Also in 2008, a Californian man turned his rental vehicle into the path of a New York commuter train. He was mindlessly following its instructions and turned right when it said to. He got stuck on the tracks and couldn’t get the car off. Luckily for him he got out before the train struck the car. It caused a two hour delay for commuters and the cancellation of three trains.

[Image: daren_ck / Flickr]

Tags: Australia, gps, outback, Rio de Janeiro

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