Whom Do You Believe, G.P.S. or Your Own Eyes?


Story in today's NY Times.

"Relying on the device as infallible is what almost killed a Silicon Valley man last month at a railroad crossing here.
The 32-year-old man, a computer maven, was on temporary assignment for an I.B.M. contractor in New York and wandered through the rolling hills here one evening, trusting in the cyber-driven intelligence of his car’s G.P.S. device rather than his own. As a result, according to Metro-North, he ended up making a right turn onto the railroad tracks and getting the undercarriage of his rented Ford Focus wedged between the rails. The man calmly hauled out his suitcase, called 911 and waited to wave the train to a stop. But the train couldn’t brake in time and ended up dragging the car for 100 feet until it burst into a fireball.
According to Metro-North, the train’s 500 passengers were stranded for two hours, another 10 trains were delayed, three trains out of Grand Central Station were canceled and 250 feet of third rail was damaged. All for want of some common sense. The G.P.S. device meant for the driver to turn right onto the northern lanes of the Saw Mill Parkway a few yards farther up, not onto the railroad tracks, but maybe some people put more faith in the inerrancy of a device rather than what their eyes tell them."

For the rest of the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/...

No GPS receiver is mentioned by name, so we do not know the culprit. I guess it is one of those older "turn right, then turn right" models, without street names etc.

old news

Garmin 38 - Magellan Gold - Garmin Yellow eTrex - Nuvi 260 - Nuvi 2460LMT - Google Nexus 7 - Toyota Entune NAV


Some people just do not have common sense. If the GPS tells the user to turn right on to a rail road track (verbally). Some will do it without thinking.

There are many instances of people listening to the GPS with dire results. So far they are mostly in Europe. I guess it's time for the U.S. to catch up.

Probably wasn't paying

Probably wasn't paying attention and the turn was just after or before the tracks. These are the same people who burn their mouths on hot coffee and try and sue McDonalds.

Whom Do You Believe, G.P.S. or Your Own Eyes

It Dont take a Rocket Scientist To know you dont turn onto Railroad Tracks What was he Thinking if your Gps says turn right and you see a lake in front of you are you going to turn right whats wrong with this picture

Auggie SP2720 , SP C330, Nuvi 650, Nuvi 785T,Dezl 770lmt America Moves By Truck

The Office

That's exactly what happened on The Office where Michael rented a car and it told him to turn into a lake. Of course that's fictional, but still highly amusing. I'm sure somebody has done it.


"The man calmly hauled out his suitcase, called 911 and waited to wave the train to a stop."

So should this person be allowed to have children? Your car is stopped on a train track; Would it not occur to you to leave the vehicle for your own safety?


Garmin c550

sounds a little crazy i

sounds a little crazy i travel for a living always look at my route on the computer befor i take of to anywhere then relie on my gps to remind me where im going a few times its been wrong and i go on instink first then the gps really turn on the tracks comon commin sense please

Ok, I will be the first to

Ok, I will be the first to admit that there has been a few times where I wanted to take a left on a red light because Jill told me too. Haven't done it yet, but almost.

Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

GPS served only as guide not

GPS served only as guide not 100% accurate.

Val - Nuvi 785t and Streetpilot C340

Common sense ... or lack thereof

Being new to the GPS game (only got my Garmin 200 last week), I find myself wondering about the common sense of some drivers who blindly follow the guidance of their GPS beleiving that it is 100% accurate.

Roads change and the mapping provider doesn't always update maps as regularly as they should. But if your GPS is telling you to turn right when their is a sign prohibiting this, then ignore the GPS and follow the direction of the sign. Soon a new route will be calculated for you. How simple is that?

Now this muppet who landed on a railway crossing ... I mean how dim a bulb is he? You DO NOT mess around with trains or trucks because they cannot stop quickly and will mow you down without a second thought. And to make matters worse, he did not immeditately get out of the car when he realized he was stranded. Hello! Here's your sign!

"Life is a journey - enjoy the ride!" Garmin nuvi 255

I still recall the first

I still recall the first time I heard a news story of someone driving off a pier because they were following the GPS. Those are the people salesman love, they will buy anything

"Enter roundabout -- Enter

"Enter roundabout -- Enter roundabout -- Enter roundabout -- Enter roundabout -- "


Gosh, I hope these folks never go boating with a GPS. On water the GPS gives you a straight line course. If there is a sand bar, reef, land, etc in the way it just plots a course over them. Leastwise, that's the way my Lowrance does. Some times hiding your dumb isn't a bad thing.

Mark - Nuvi 265T NUVI 50LM

Trust your eyes

As often as roads change around here, you have to watch and not assume the GPS is always accurate. Its a great guide and when I'm not sure of a turn at a confusing intersection, I use my judgement, then let Jill "Recalculate" when I make the wrong choice.

I plan to live forever. So far, so good.

Oh brother, crazy.

Oh brother, crazy.

Urban Legend??

This report sounds extremely familiar, and I wonder if it is another example of a story being rehashed because it supports a particular position or belief. And the story allows "us" to feel superior to someone who is so obviously clueless.

Here is a story from San Diego, where a person was "misdirected" by a GPS, but was able to get out of the car, call 911 and try to flag the train down.

Here is a story where a contractor from California doing some work in New York followed GPS directions and turned onto railway tracks. Sound familiar??? Except it is from 2008!


That could apply to looking at the date on the tread.

Who do you believe

In the 1980's, before gps's, someone I knew was given directions to turn left just after a curve or bridge, so she turned down a power line right of way. Fortunately, she eventually got to a road, but was lost.

Who do you believe

In the 1980's, before gps's, someone I knew was given directions to turn left just after a curve or bridge, so she turned down a power line right of way. Fortunately, she eventually got to a road, but was lost.

OK, I haven't heard the last of this yet

We were at the swap meet in Hershey. We were parked and I turned on Jill to tell us where resterurants were. I found one and my husband drove to the exit. I was looking at the GPS and it said turn right. It was in my head that the arrow was pointing left although I was thinking right and looking at the right arrow but had my directions mixed up. I kept insisting that he should turn left as he argued with me that the sign said not to turn. Well I never looked up and kept insisting he turn left. Well he did it.....
We were going down a one way backwards. My brother was behind us in his car and honked and turned the real right.
We made a U turn in the middle of the street and I have never heard the end of it. I tell him he was looking at the sign and knows how I say things backwards and it was his fault but he keeps insisting it was my fault... I was not driving and he was so it is his fault. smile

Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

Who Do You Believe

Years ago I knew someone that drove down his cadillac a boat ramp. He was found the next morning with the car in reverse. We don't know why.


I know an old thread was "bumped"

I recall reading an article which suggests at least one of the drivers who blamed a GPS for a drive on the RR tracks was a driver who was planning on suicide but changed his mind.

I agree with the pp, many of those stories are urban myths and/or the product of comedy routines.

Years ago my parents had an early GPS in a rental car. The GPS insisted on making turns on streets which weren't considered by the GPS as a dead end street even though it didn't have a bridge over the canal.

Those days are ancient history although I occasionally find a one way street not properly registered as one way.

The answer is, Believe your

The answer is, Believe your eyes, first!

"Mind over GPS" or just plain old commonsense!

Most of my use of GPS is when I ride or tour on my motorcycle...

I do not use the audio feature...it is a distraction, but rather use the GPS for reference. Visual only.

With routes created by the user, the GPS is just telling you where the creator of route wants to go... If the GPS tells you to turn into middle of corn field...guess what...you created the route and the turn...granted the GPS and the creator are not perfect... Another common error in routing is making a town a waypoint along the route, this usually tells the GPS to route to the center of town. Therefore if I traveling down a highway for next 100 miles and GPS wants me to turn right, just to have me do a u turn and come back the same way... this is where "mind over GPS" comes in...

Another common error, is making a waypoint in middle of controlled access Highway (Interstate)...many times we make the waypoint in the wrong lane...zooming in when creating route is a good idea... this random waypoint can have you exit and enter and run in circles...ask me how I know...

Thankfully Garmin BaseCamp has corrected some of this with the "snap to intersection" feature...

Making an intersection a waypoint is not good for me... I had rather map the waypoint (shaping waypoint) after the intersection or after the turn at the intersection...how many times have you reached an intersection where you need to turn...the GPS sends you straight ahead and tell you to u turn to come back and make the turn...this is caused by the creator of the route not the GPS...but again the "snap to intersection feature is helping with this common error.
Making the waypoint after the turn (in proper lane) will solve this problem.

The best accessory for any GPS is still a paper map or atlas...the screen is small and the map is a good reference to give you the larger view or your traveling area....

Hope this helps!

DGN MTF, IBA, MOA, BMW 1200GSA My picture...I was doing a charity ride in Georgia, got my picture with my bike and mural required...then a nice lady ask if she could take my picture...I agreed...when I downloaded this is what I got... just call me M


Looks can be decieving.

As a guy who used to work for me would say

"Some people's kids." confused

With God, all things are possible. ——State motto of the Great State of Ohio

Common sense...

If you drive on the train track you should know and it is a common sense.

I can't believe my own

I can't believe my own eyes.

Oops, sorry, I thought this was the Hooters thread.

Never mind.

A GPS is Good for Showing Where you are

A GPS will tell you where you are at, it is up to you to know where you are going. Good luck, navigating and remember a GPS will tell you where you are at. At that they are near 100% accurate. Otherwise pay attention to your driving and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

No matter where you are "Life is Worth Living".