GPS users disengage brains?

I have insufficient proof to consider this an absolute truism, but I think that there is evidence to make one think that users of GPS systems operate them by turning off their brains.

A 20-year-old student’s car was wrecked by a train after she followed her sat nav system onto a railway track.

. . .

“I put my complete trust in the sat nav and it led me right into the path of a speeding train,” she said.

“The crossing wasn’t shown on the sat nav, there were no signs at all and it wasn’t lit up to warn of an oncoming train.

Unfortunately, if you read the full story, you’ll see that it is conceivable that this was more than just blind faith in the GPS. The rail crossing was unmarked, it was dark, and manual manipulation of the cross gates was required to cross. But that’s not all my evidence. You can see more examples if you keep reading.

An 80-year-old German driver was guided by his satnav down a road still under under construction near Hamburg – and crashed his Mercedes, having ignored several signs for the construction.

The Mercedes ran through several barricades and eventually crashed into a pile of sand. The driver and his wife were uninjured.

A police spokesman commented ‘The driver was following the orders from his navigation system and – even though there was a sufficient number of warnings and barricades – he continued his journey into the construction site. His trip finally ended when he wound up crashing into a pile of sand’.

I’m sure you’re still not convinced. Well, if I showed you more, would you start believing?

So far, over-dependence on GPS devices has resulted in more inconvenience than actual danger, but things took a turn for the worse earlier this month when a U.K. woman sent her £96k Mercedes SL500 flying into a river, trusting the car’s optimistic GPS guidance instead of the road signs warning of impending doom. Matters were made worse as the river was swollen from recent heavy rains, which caused the vehicle to be swept some 200 meters downstream before the woman was able to escape. While she emerged unscathed, the car unfortunately wasn’t quite so lucky, remaining stuck in the river for a week after the incident and now believed to be a complete write-off.

With some more effort, you’ll find that not all such accidents are road-bound issues.

On 30 March 2006, after an evening fish, the Skipper of Sanga Na Langa thought he was well clear of the dangerous rocks off Kauri Point on the east coast of Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

The evening sea breeze had eased off and conditions were nice and calm. Night had fallen and the flood tide was pushing him along as he motored south with the rocky coast of Waiheke Island to starboard.

The GPS clearly showed he was well clear of three dangerous rocks that lay to the west of his intended track. Darkness had fallen and the Skipper had posted a lookout on the bow just in case.

. . .

The Skipper was just about to refer to his paper chart to consider if he needed to be further offshore when a sudden warning from the lookout alerted him to the fact that there was broken water ahead. Approximately 10 seconds later vessel’s hull and port propeller ground over the top of a rock.

Having recently ridden with an idiot who apparently lost the ability to navigate via eyes and brain due to his GPS, I thought it would be fun to find and post stories of others doing the same. The last story there differs in that the skipper seemed intent on verifying what the GPS told him, but the others look to be nothing more than simple over-reliance on technology to the exclusion of using one’s brain. The driver I was with took an unnecessary exit while driving a 5 mile route he had been driving daily for months, then used his GPS to get back to the correct roadway when there was an exit less than half a mile ahead which could have been used to turn around and get back to the correct road.

And I just like pointing out when people do stupid things. I guess to be fair, though, I need to point out some of the stupid things I do. Look for those in the future.

[tags]GPS makes drivers stupid, Stupid, GPS, GPS causes brain malfunction[/tags]