GPS Directs Colorado Drivers into Muddy Field Jul 1, 2019 16:59:02 GMT -5
Post by JoannaB on Jul 1, 2019 16:59:02 GMT -5
GPS Directs Colorado Drivers into Muddy Field
Close to a hundred Colorado drivers followed a digital Pied Piper into an empty field where they got stuck in the mud.
On Sunday, June 23, a crash on Peña Boulevard in Denver choked access to the Denver International Airport. So Google Maps suggested a detour to many drivers attempting to make their flights or pick up arriving travelers. “I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a detour’ and pulled it up on Google Maps and it gave me a detour that was half the time,” Connie Monsees told CNN. “It was 43 minutes initially and it was going to be 23 instead – so I took the exit and drove where they told me to.”
But the detour led her to a dirt road near where Denver borders Aurora and thanks to crowd psychology, she wasn’t immediately concerned. “My thought was, ‘Well, all these other cars are in front of me, so it must be okay,” Monsees told ABC News’s Denver affiliate.
Then, because of recent rain, the dirt road turned into muddy slop. “That’s when I thought, ‘Oh this was a bad decision,’” she continued.
In fact, around a hundred vehicles had taken the detour and drove into the empty field and the leading cars got stuck in the mud. The road – if one can call it that – was narrow and allowed passage of one car at a time, so all the other vehicles were stuck behind the leader of the pack, as it were.
“The question is, why did Google send us out there to begin with?” Monsees asks. “There was no turning back once you were out there.”
In fact, the road is privately owned and a “Road Closed” sign was lying near the path.
Google told Gizmodo the road isn’t listed as private and users can report road closures. A spokesperson claimed Google takes “many factors into account when determining driving routes, including the size of the road and the directness of the route. While we always work to provide the best directions, issues can arise due to unforeseen circumstances, such as when weather conditions affect the quality of roads. We encourage all drivers to follow local laws, stay attentive and use their best judgement while driving.
Monsees’s Hyundai Santa Fe has all-wheel drive, so she was able to escape. She told ABC News she even gave a few people rides to the airport – one of whom was an Uber passenger in a car that got stuck in the field.
Sources: Jennings Brown, Gizmodo, June 27, 2019, and PressFrom, June 28, 2019.