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Man Drowns Following GPS Instructions Into Lake

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 64 comments

It's not unusual for your GPS to get you lost. Whether it's outdated maps, or a diversion due to road works, that throws you and your gadget off course, it sometimes takes a while to realize you're going the wrong way.

A few months back, we heard about a woman suing Google for giving her bad directions and directing her down a rural highway. The woman was subsequently hit by a car while walking down the middle of the busy road and blamed Google for her being there in the first place. While that was clearly a case of someone blindly following instructions and not employing common sense, a recent case in Spain is less clear-cut.

Last weekend a man in La Serena died after GPS directions led him into a lake. Gizmodo cites a Spanish newspaper report that says the man and his friend were led down a rural road that ended abruptly. It was dark, visibility was poor and the man, a foreigner not used to the area, didn't see the end of the road until it was too late. His car dropped into the lake and sank in a matter of minutes. While both men were able to get out of the car, only one was able to swim to shore.

It's not clear whether there were signposts or a blockade to warn drivers about the lake, which makes it hard to know who or what is to blame. Though one could argue that this is just another case of humans relying too much on their gadgetry and not enough on simple common sense, visibility was clearly quite bad at the time of the accident so it's hard to fault the driver. However, El Mundo also reports that the GPS did say the road ended in a lake but the men just didn't stop on time. Unfortunately, the situation probably would have culminated in the same tragic accident had his friend directed him down the road.

Source: El Mundo via Gizmodo

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Top Comments
  • 37 Hide
    Anonymous , October 6, 2010 1:36 AM
    Unlike plane instruments, Google maps is not a driving instrument. If the driver cannot see, he needs to pull over.
  • 29 Hide
    gnookergi , October 6, 2010 1:29 AM
    At least he got his Darwin Award.
  • 28 Hide
    belardo , October 6, 2010 1:25 AM
    You can't fix stupid.
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    lashton , October 6, 2010 1:17 AM
    i think they are trying to offload the blame from stupidity to google
  • 28 Hide
    belardo , October 6, 2010 1:25 AM
    You can't fix stupid.
  • 29 Hide
    gnookergi , October 6, 2010 1:29 AM
    At least he got his Darwin Award.
  • 8 Hide
    jossrik , October 6, 2010 1:32 AM
    I think the answer to the question is "How many other foreigners without GPS have driven into the lake and drown?" That should show where the blame lies. Heck, how many have driven into the lake and drown ever? I can see people drowning in the lake, but driving into the lake and drowning, that's a different kinda silly.
  • 37 Hide
    Anonymous , October 6, 2010 1:36 AM
    Unlike plane instruments, Google maps is not a driving instrument. If the driver cannot see, he needs to pull over.
  • 6 Hide
    nforce4max , October 6, 2010 1:37 AM
    Speaks volumes about people in general these days.
  • 26 Hide
    Coolio_alert , October 6, 2010 1:37 AM
    "Turn right, destination is in lake"
  • -5 Hide
    zachary k , October 6, 2010 1:38 AM
    wow, tom is taking Michel Scott form "the office" serios...wait... thats a different guy? wow, well....i guess someone IS that stupid. technology can't replace common sense.
  • 6 Hide
    Trashit , October 6, 2010 1:41 AM
    Planes can pretty much fly themselves these days yet we still use pilots. A car on the other hand is about as sophisticated as a hamster wheel yet people are quite happy to follow their GPS blindly. I think people don't realise that even a brand new GPS units is only as good as its latest map version update.
  • 3 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , October 6, 2010 1:48 AM
    When there is heavy fog, i slow down to a safe speed in which i can see. This guy on the other hand, was too dependent on the gadget to actually take time to see outside the windshield and slow down. Well at least he saw fishes swimming...
  • 6 Hide
    joytech22 , October 6, 2010 1:49 AM
    TrashitI think people don't realise that even a brand new GPS units is only as good as its latest map version update.


    Or as smart as the people using them are, but sometimes accidents happen too.
  • 1 Hide
    Icylobster , October 6, 2010 1:52 AM
    LOL, I saw this on the main page and instantly thought of The Office. It is however sad that in this case the guy drowned. As far as people go by saying how dumb the guy was. Its not like it was mid day, the article states it was at night, the guy was not familiar with the area, etc.
  • 0 Hide
    bourgeoisdude , October 6, 2010 2:04 AM
    Sad that it happened, I feel bad for the family. Really. But if they try to sue the GPS maker for this, I won't have any sympathy.
  • 17 Hide
    skine , October 6, 2010 2:07 AM
    Quote:
    [...]visibility was clearly quite bad at the time of the accident so it's hard to fault the driver.


    It is the responsibility of the driver to adjust his driving to the environment. If he cannot stop in time to avoid a stationary object, then he was clearly at fault - whether he was driving too fast or was somehow distracted.

    Sure, he may have had no reason to assume there was a lake in front of him. Every time I drive, I keep in mind that there may be a vehicle, person, animal, road damage, a snow drift, fallen trees/rocks or some other object in my lane. When it rains or snows, I drive as if the road is slippery. When it's dark, foggy or snowing/raining hard enough to effect visibility, I drive only as fast as I can see.

    Regardless of whether the GPS is found to be liable, above all else, it is the responsibility of the driver to drive safely.

    @Jane: I tend to like your articles, but I pray that you don't have a driver's license.
  • 2 Hide
    nebun , October 6, 2010 2:07 AM
    i bet that he was using a tomtom
  • 5 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , October 6, 2010 2:12 AM
    Why in the HELL would you drive in poor visibility to begin with? Why can't people learn from others' past mistakes? Five Words: The Day The Music Died.
  • 6 Hide
    ta152h , October 6, 2010 2:13 AM
    Maybe his last name was something like Bass, and the GPS assumed he was a fish.
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , October 6, 2010 2:17 AM
    bourgeoisdudeSad that it happened, I feel bad for the family. Really. But if they try to sue the GPS maker for this, I won't have any sympathy.


    agreed. plus the gps company would win since they a clause which states that they aren't accountable for any errors with the unit and that the unit may not be accurate all the time
  • -4 Hide
    reprotected , October 6, 2010 2:19 AM
    Didn't Robot Chicken lampoon this?
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