Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS Fail: Driving Across the Ocean

Photo: Chris McCormack.

Tourists get stranded in the ocean after following GPS directions.  Photo: Chris McCormack.

There are times when GPS is a lifesaver, whether you are driving or out on the trail. I get turned around occasionally and in unfamiliar cities sometimes it can be hard to watch the traffic and read the tiny street names to make sure you’re on the right path. GPS comes quite in handy then. However, there is a certain sense of, well, common sense that ought to be present while navigating anywhere.

Especially when your GPS tells you to drive into the ocean.

GPS fails get kind of old sometimes, but while this one isn’t new, it was so hilarious I just couldn’t help passing it along. Apparently three Japanese tourists were visiting Australia and managed to get their car stuck in, you guessed it—the ocean. Their GPS navigation system apparently was giving them directions to “drive” to North Stradbroke Island, located a mile or so off of the coast of Australia.

The Redland City Bulletin reported that the low tide apparently made the drive look possible (despite the water everywhere) and by 3 p.m. the car was stranded in two meters (about 6 and a half feet) of water.

“It kept saying it would navigate us to a road,” Yuzu Noda told Redland City Bulletin reporters. “We got stuck . . . there’s lots of mud.” Which, on a beach in Australia, shouldn’t really have been surprising. Eventually they winched the car out of the mud, and the tourists were totally fine.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick Google Maps search and in the driving directions, it says “take the ferry to Dunwich” instead of suggesting you drive (or swim) across the bay. Of course, Google Maps has had its fair share of odd directions as well, but it’s nice to see that not everyone will drive into the ocean while trying to get to the island. Although, it’s possible that it was updated after this incident, so who knows?

Long story short: you can’t drive across the ocean, so pay attention!

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