A family in the US ended up stranded in the desert after trusting their navigation app. Their plight has since gone viral and reminds them of the dangers of unthinkingly following GPS guidance in unfamiliar areas.
The incident occurred on November 19 when Shelby Easler, her brother, and their significant others drove from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The web mapping application reportedly advised them to take a shorter off-road route to avoid significant traffic delays that day due to a dust storm.
They ended up taking a dangerous dirt path in the Mojave Desert, reports SFGATE. Their car got stuck in the sand and sustained extensive damage, with one of their tires blown out. They eventually called 911 but were told police were preoccupied with the highway’s dust storm-related issues.
In a now-viral TikTok post, Easler detailed their ordeal in great detail. The clip also shows a few other cars stuck in the treacherous area. The group ultimately had to call a towing service that sent trucks to rescue them.
They all left the desert alive but were left frustrated and shaken. In the future, they’ll keep a paper map and stick it to the main roads. Easler also warned that their car will now cost much money to repair.
It’s not the first time that a navigation app has led someone down a dangerous path in this way. In September, the family of a North Carolina man who died after driving his car off a collapsed bridge blamed the tech giant for his death, saying he was following directions from Google Maps on his phone.
According to the lawsuit filed by Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky, Mr Philip Paxson was heading home from his daughter’s ninth birthday party when he drove off what residents have dubbed the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Hickory. The bridge collapsed in 2013 and has never been repaired, and it’s alleged that Google needed to update its maps and directions when it was informed of the safety risks by locals.
A spokesperson for the firm emphasized that the company always tries to update its maps when notified of unnavigable roadways. He added that the firm has a team dedicated to monitoring road conditions and addressing them as quickly as possible.