This has been said many times, in many places, but I think it bears repeating for reasons that I’ll illustrate shortly:
GPS systems are a guide and a tool. They are not absolutely perfect. They are human designed systems that can fail.
Also, no matter how insistent that voice is, and no matter how often it says “Recalculating”, your GPS system is not the boss of you. You are the person in control of the vehicle; you have the option to ignore it, mute it, or even throw it out the window. (I even know one person who took a perverse enjoyment in tormenting their car’s GPS system by driving in circles.)
Several things bring this to mind. Some folks who were attending Saturday’s SDC found that their GPS systems were showing a location for Korean Grill that was quite a bit off from the actual location. (By the way, Korean Grill is a pretty darn spiffy place; I recommend giving it a shot.) On Sunday, we had a similar experience trying to find the Gruene Door; somehow, we ended up in a residential area several hundred feet behind the Gruene Door, and more or less stumbled on the restaurant through pure luck. (Also: the Gruene Door was fantastic. I’d like to go back sometime soon.)
And then there’s this story from the Sacramento Bee:
“It’s what I’m beginning to call death by GPS,” said Death Valley wilderness coordinator Charlie Callagan. “People are renting vehicles with GPS and they have no idea how it works and they are willing to trust the GPS to lead them into the middle of nowhere.”
And then they get stuck in the middle of nowhere in 120 degree heat where there’s no cell phone service and wind up drinking their own urine to survive. Or just simply vanish until someone stumbles across their remains in the desert.
It does seem like there may be a little more to this than just GPS failures. (Why aren’t closed roads better marked? Perhaps with a big sign: “ROAD CLOSED. IF YOU GO PAST THIS POINT YOU WILL DIE.“) But the main problem still seems to be blind trust in a technology that can fail.
(Unfortunately, I can’t find a YouTube clip of the Hill Street Blues episode where Joyce Davenport lectures one of her clients on desert survival techniques. Too bad, because she’s actually got some pretty sound advice to offer.)