Many of us rely on Google Maps every day to help us get safely from point "A" to point "B." But sometimes putting blind faith in technology can backfire. Take the ordeal that nearly 100 Colorado drivers found themselves living through this past Sunday when they tried to drive around a traffic jam. According to CNN
and Denver 7
, an accident on a road leading to Denver International Airport led drivers to follow a detour suggested by the Google Maps app. The app said that the detour would get drivers to the airport in just 23 minutes, half the time it would take them following the usual directions.
The 100 drivers that followed in a line ended up driving on a dirt road that rain had turned into a slippery, muddy mess. Some cars started skidding on the road while others were stuck in the mud, spinning their wheels. A large number of drivers found themselves trapped behind the cars that couldn't get any traction. Making A U-turn was not possible because the road only accommodates one car at a time. In a statement, Google said that the road was not marked as private even though it is. It added that "unforeseen circumstances" can cause issues when driving, including the weather.
"We take 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. We encourage all drivers to follow local laws, stay attentive, and use their best judgment while driving."-Google
Denver traffic reporter Jayson Luber says that drivers are getting too dependent on Google Maps. "You are driving. Google Maps is not driving," Luber said. "Google Maps is not perfect. You need to know where you are going and, if it does not look like that’s where you should be going, turn around and try again. Take a look at the Google map and it’s going to tell you where to go, but you are not a lemming and you don’t need to follow it exactly. It’s better to find your own way and take a look at the map."
So next time Google Maps suggests a detour that it says will cut the time of your drive by a decent amount, you might want to think twice before driving off the beaten path. Still, we should note that the app will indeed get you where you want to go without incident most of the time.