You can’t always trust your map app: faulty Google Maps directions led some Aurora, Colo. area drivers to a strange and muddy detour on Sunday. The app seemed to be trying to route them around a crash, but instead ended up causing a separate traffic jam.
Google’s detour suggestion dumped dozens of drivers on a one-way dirt road, according to Denver7. Rainy weather from earlier in the weekend caused a muddy patch that drivers say ended up causing a 100-car backup due.
Many of the drivers blamed Google Maps for taking them to the off-road detour in the first place, relying on the app to automatically reroute them when traffic gets bad. The incident shows just how much we can trust our smartphone apps.
“My thought was, ‘Well there are all these other cars in front of me so it must be OK.’ So I just continued,” driver Connie Monsees told Denver7.
“The question is why did Google send us out there to begin with? There was no turning back once you were out there,” she added.
While Google Maps has many useful features, like real-time information on traffic and transit options as well as SOS alerts for natural disasters, the app can’t always predict roads affected by daily weather, remote road closures, and other issues that are undetectable by GPS.
It wasn’t too long ago that drivers relied on actual maps to get them from point A to point B, but with the advancement in technology, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with a map in their glove box nowadays.
According to the Washington Post, an essential part of our culture is “wayfinding,” or being aware of our environment and barriers during travel. With our reliance on GPS systems like Google Maps, we plug an address in, go on autopilot mode and don’t necessarily remember how we got to our destination.
Google didn’t respond to our request for comment, but a spokesperson told ABC News that Google Maps takes “many factors into account when determining driving routes, including the size of the road and the directness of the route.”
“While we always work to provide the best directions, issues can arise due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather,” the spokesperson said. “We encourage all drivers to follow local laws, stay attentive, and use their best judgement while driving.”