Horrible Accidents and Blunders Caused by Google Maps

If you have a smart phone, there’s good chance that you use Google Maps as a way to get around. In a lot of ways this technology is great: You don’t have to buy a map, you can seek new routes with just a few key strokes, and you can get a good idea of when you’ll be arriving at your destination. But individual Google Map errors have become more common as we turn over our reliance to the app. More people are getting into accidents, and generally less people are paying attention to what they’re supposed to be doing. Don’t believe it? Take a look at these horrible accidents caused by Google Maps.

Even when we’re not driving, Google Maps accidents can occur and irreparably damage our lives. Take for example the family who lost their home due to a construction crew tearing it down, or an entire island full of people who weren’t able to find their way around when Google deleted it off the planet. These accidents show us that not only is Google fallible, and susceptible to harmful edits to their apps, but that we’ve basically turned our brains over to a computer system that is capable of making very big mistakes. We’re not advocating for Ludditism, but the next time you’re trying to get around town, be weary of the information Google Maps gives you.

Make sure you’re not reading this list of accidents caused by Google Maps while you’re supposed to be navigating through unfamiliar streets, and if you’ve had your own mishaps with Google Maps, take to the comments and fill us in.

  • Google Maps Sends a Woman Walking Into Traffic

    Google Maps Sends a Woman Walking Into Traffic
    Video: YouTube
    In 2010, a Utah woman followed the somewhat dubious walking directions provided by Google Maps and walked directly onto a busy highway, where she was clipped by a passing vehicle. And of course she sued Google for upwards of $100,000. 
  • Driver Follows Directions Straight Off a Cliff

    Driver Follows Directions Straight Off a Cliff
    Photo: Screenshot / YouTube / Fair Use
    According to police in Indiana, a driver was following his GPS too closely when he plunged his car off an abandoned bridge into a ravine, killing his wife. A representative for the Sheriff's Department said "The Cline Avenue bridge is marked with numerous barricades including orange barrels and cones, large wood signs stating ROAD CLOSED with orange striped markings. There are concrete barricades across the road to further indicate the road is closed." This sounds like the plot of a film noir, in which the man in question gets rid of his wife by staging an almost preposterous accident, but sadly the incident, apparently, is what it is—the man was simply watching the GPS monitor and not the road. 
  • Demolition Company Tears Down Wrong House

    Demolition Company Tears Down Wrong House
    Video: YouTube
    This story has one lesson: when in doubt, blame Google Maps. In 2016, a demolition company in Texas went to a misidentified address that they found on Google Maps and completely destroyed a family's duplex.
  • Man Claims GPS Made Him Drive Like a Crazy Person

    Man Claims GPS Made Him Drive Like a Crazy Person
    Photo: Sean MacEntee / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    A driver in the UK tried to get out of a bad driving rap after he claimed that his GPS told him to drive down a narrow road and through a fence, landing him on the precipice of a 100 foot drop. Sure it did. 
  • Student Crashes Car While Reading a Map

    Student Crashes Car While Reading a Map
    Photo: Mark Faviell / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    In a story that we hear all too often, an 18-year-old driver in Houston was checking Google Maps on her phone when she lost control of a car and crashed into an 18 wheel vehicle, killing her. 
  • Google Maps Sends Mt. Rushmore Seeking Tourists the Wrong Way

    Google Maps Sends Mt. Rushmore Seeking Tourists the Wrong Way
    Photo: John Carrel / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Since 2010, roadtripping tourists who are looking to snap a pic of their favorite national monument have been getting directed to "Mount Rushmore, South Dakota" rather than the national monument. This case of "mistaken identity" has become so commonplace that a woman who runs a camp in Mount Rushmore has put up a sign that says, "Your GPS is WRONG. This is NOT Mt. Rushmore."