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9 Car Accidents Caused by Google Maps & GPS

Updated September 23, 2021 99.7k views9 items

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.

  • 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.

  • 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?"

  • Photo: Pistor6023 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Trucker Follows GPS Directions, Winds Up In Tree

    In July of 2007, a German driver listened to his GPS while driving a cargo truck. While barreling through the Lucerne area of Switzerland, the driver daydreamed right past several "No Entry" signs. In broad daylight, he drove down a busy pedestrian walkway and plowed straight into a cherry tree.

    The truck, naturally, was wedged into the tree. When the truck driver tried to back out, he wound up taking out several lamp posts and causing even more tree destruction.

    Swiss workers had to use chainsaws on the tree, and the truck driver was fined about $540.

  • Photo: Peter Facey / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    UK Motorists Follow GPS, Get Stuck On Narrow Roads

    In the tiny villages and towns around Winchester, UK, motorists have long had problems with GPS navigation. They follow the route their devices suggest and repeatedly wind up stuck -- the roads are simply too narrow for some wider vehicles.

    The problem got so bad in the town of Exton that a bright yellow sign was erected to warn drivers NOT to follow their GPS and to, instead, rely on common sense.