“It Says Take a Left Up This Impassable Mountain Track”

By | August 29, 2007

photo from Reuters

Apparently technology is making us so dumb we need signs to jolt us back to common sense. Reuters reports that Britain has started trials of special road signs warning “drivers about the dangers of trusting their satellite navigation devices (satnavs)”:

Some have reported that software glitches have sent drivers down one-way streets or up impassable mountain tracks.

One ambulance driver with a faulty satnav drove hundreds of miles in the wrong direction while transferring a patient from one hospital in Ilford east of London to another just eight miles away.

At what point, I wonder, did the ambulance driver think that perhaps he wasn’t taking the fastest route? The original story, according to The Times, involved the driver and his colleague driving

for eight hours before finally delivering the patient. After the equipment sent them north, they covered 215 miles in about four hours. The way back was only slightly shorter and took more than 3½ hours.

The device was reprogrammed, as were the two drivers. The Times comes up with a couple more examples:

Last month a woman dodged oncoming traffic for 14 miles after misreading her sat-nav system and driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway.Police said it was a miracle that no one was injured after the young woman joined the A3M, which links Portsmouth to London, on the southbound side — only to head north.

In September a taxi driver took two teenage girls 85 miles in the opposite direction after keying the wrong place name into his sat-nav. The girls asked to go to Lymington in the New Forest, Hampshire, but the driver tapped in Limington, Somerset.

I hear Somerset is very nice in September.

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3 thoughts on ““It Says Take a Left Up This Impassable Mountain Track”

  1. Danny


    Is it technology driving people dumb or dumb people driving technology ?

    The question is, how far people can go when they rely on the information they are given ?

    “This is true because it is on the screen” seems to be a though that doesn’t leave some people’s mind.

    An example ? In some places, mini market and suchlike, the doors can open both inside or outside, right ? BUT these are nonetheless marked with these very useful reminders “PUSH” and “PULL” ( well in your case TARIK and DORONG :p ).

    Some buildings though, manage to get it wrong and place the “PULL” sign on the inside, in contradiction with the security norms.

    What is, therefore and disregarding the norms, amazing to see is how people actually follow the “PUSH” or “PULL” instruction, sometimes correcting themselves when opening the the door the “wrong way”.

    If such a little visual aid can prevent people form their own door opening will, it is not surprising that some can blindly follow the hi-tech synthetic voice of their satnav all the way up shave creek…

    :::STOP READING:::

  2. Jeremy Wagstaff

    Nice one, Danny.

    I must confess I always pull/push the door in the way advised. I figure that if I don’t I may bash the guy on the other side who wasn’t expecting the door to go that way… and there’s nothing more humiliating that pushing a door that only pulls… Maybe we’re more scared of looking silly than anything else.

  3. beautiful cebuana

    Technology made people Dumb you know why because we become Lazy we want technology to work for us we forgot that our brain is the one who made all those fancy programs and all those hardware stuffs that we are using today.


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