9 Car Accidents Caused by Google Maps & GPS

Car accidents caused by GPS and Google Maps, unfortunately, aren't all that unusual. With all of the people blindly following electronic directions into large bodies of water, onto busy roads, and even running into trees, it's pretty clear that we've all become a tad too reliant on those "helpful," robotic voices that guide us along our way. This list includes some of the most dramatic examples of what can happen when people put just a bit too much trust in their GPS devices. 

GPS, Google Maps, Waze, and other navigation apps can be very useful, but blindly following online map devices can lead to danger. Drivers often pay much more attention to the GPS voice that gives them turn-by-turn directions than they do to traffic lights and warning signs. 

Vote up the worst car accidents caused by GPS navigation.

  • Japanese Tourists Follow GPS Directions, Wind Up in Bay
    Video: YouTube

    Japanese Tourists Follow GPS Directions, Wind Up in Bay

    It can be nerve-racking to drive a car in unfamiliar territory, but in March of 2012, a group of Tokyo students in Australia deserved every bit of that traditional tourist anxiety and embarrassment - and then some. When they ignored common sense to follow the counter-intuitive instructions on their GPS , they wound up smack in the middle of Moreton Bay. The tourists were trying to navigate between two islands along a channel route when they got stuck in the water. Fortunately, it was low tide.

    What happened? Student Yuzu Noda said the GPS "...told us we could drive down there. It kept saying it would navigate us to a road. We got stuck... There's lots of mud."

    Taking this shortcut was definitely a costly mistake: The tourists wound up forking over about $1,500 in extra charges to the car rental company.

  • Woman Follows GPS, Drives Straight Into Swamp
    Photo: BlueCanoe / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Woman Follows GPS, Drives Straight Into Swamp

    In June 2011, three women driving a rented Mercedes SUV near Seattle made the absolute wrong decision. When their trusty little robot rerouted them down a large boat launch, these Mensa candidates simply shrugged and hit the gas. They cruised all the way into the Mercer Slough, where the car became submerged in murky water.

    The women were okay -- they all managed to get out -- and Mercer Island divers were called in to recover the Mercedes. Quoth one of the rescuers on scene: "I don't know why they wouldn't question driving into a puddle that doesn't seem to end..."

  • Woman Sues Google Maps After Getting Hit By a Car
    Video: YouTube

    Woman Sues Google Maps After Getting Hit By a Car

    In January of 2009, Lauren Rosenberg consulted Google Maps to find the best walking route to her destination in Park City, UT. When it directed her onto a busy four-lane highway, she strode off the curb and straight into oncoming traffic.

    Not surprisingly, Rosenberg suffered injuries and was hospitalized. More than a year later, she filed a more than $100,000 lawsuit against Google Maps (and the driver who hit her), claiming Google's "reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions" caused her to suffer "severe permanent physical, emotional, and mental injuries."

    A court ultimately ruled against Rosenberg, ruling that the disclaimer/warning was clear enough.

  • New Jersey Driver Follows GPS, Causes Four-Car Pileup
    Photo: Famartin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    New Jersey Driver Follows GPS, Causes Four-Car Pileup

    Ever driven in the state of New Jersey? If so, you're probably familiar with this rule: Don't make a left turn. Just do not do it. For some reason, New Jersey has a lot of "jughandles" -- ramps that force drivers to first turn right before, ultimately, turning left. Consider yourself warned.

    Unfortunately, a 17-year-old Marlboro Township driver screwed up big time in May of 2010, when, while following his GPS, he made an illegal left turn on Route 33. That decision led to a four-car pileup (and several tickets for the teen driver, who had a provisional license). The driver's excuse? His GPS "told him to turn left."

  • UK Woman Follows GPS, Drives Mercedes Into River
    Photo: Russ Hamer / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    UK Woman Follows GPS, Drives Mercedes Into River

    In March 2007, a 28-year-old woman following her in-car satellite navigation system ignored a number of warning signs telling her not to drive down a certain road toward a rain-swollen river, drove directly toward said rain-swollen river anyway, and drove her Mercedes SL500 right in to that rain-swollen river. The raging River Sence in Leicestershire, UK, carried her car several hundred feet downstream.

    Luckily, the driver was rescued by someone who witnessed the accident -- but it took crews a week to get the submerged Mercedes (estimated at £96k) out of the water.

  • Bus Driver Follows GPS, Gets Wedged Under Bridge
    Photo: Christine Johnstone / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Bus Driver Follows GPS, Gets Wedged Under Bridge

    In April of 2008, a bus driver responsible for a high school girls softball team plowed the bus into - and under - a bridge in the Washington Park Arboretum.

    The bus was 12 feet high. The very old pedestrian footbridge was 9 feet high, and flashing lights and yellow signs posted on its path said as much. But the GPS said to go, so the driver went.

    The roof of the bus was sheared off, and several students were treated for minor injuries. In a statement, the president of the charter bus defended the driver and blamed the GPS: "We just thought it would be a safe route, because why else would they have a selection for a bus?"