There’s satnav problems and then there’s stupid

It’s something of a cliche that Germans always do as they are told.
But a visiting motorist from Poland appears to have taken his efforts to blend in to an extreme when he followed the instructions of his satnav — and drove straight into a river.
The satnav directed the driver, who has not been named, to take a ferry across the river Elbe south-east of Hamburg.
It appears the driver didn’t realise the ferry was at the other side of the river and the terminal was empty, and simply drove off the end of the pier.

Same river as I can see out my office window, but a different bit of it. Big damn river though, even here 500 miles upstream.

19 thoughts on “There’s satnav problems and then there’s stupid”

  1. Yeah, well.

    “In fairness to the driver, the incident took place at 5am in pitch darkness and heavy rain on a remote road that has no street lighting. ”

    ” “The same thing almost happened to me,” the driver, who identified himself only as AG wrote.

    “The weather conditions were exactly the same. It was dark, it was raining and I was with a colleague, following the satnav. Neither he nor I saw any signs about a ferry.

    “The only thing that prevented doing the same thing was that the moon was shining and I was puzzled by the shimmer ahead. ”

    And I’d caution against being too superior over GPS blunders. The UK happens to be well mapped, so what’s on the satnav screen largely corresponds to what’s on the ground. I’ve a friend, in France, whose house the satnav can’t find because it has it & the road it’s on, in the middle of a field. Then there’s the misplaced bridge in a village near Bordeaux.(close one!) And France is actually pretty good, cartagraphically. Spain, whether the map agrees with the road on location is merely a matter of chance. As is, whether the road indicated is passable by an agile goat.

  2. As I suspected:

    “In fairness to the driver, the incident took place at 5am in pitch darkness and heavy rain on a remote road that has no street lighting.”

  3. Even though this incident took place in Germany it was a Polish driver that was at the wheel. The first sentence is therefore misleading and shows the germanophobia of the author.

  4. I tend to run wit both the satnav & Google Earth on the tablet, these days. There’s been a few times I’ve looked at the satellite image, compared it with the suggested route & gone “Nah. Don’t think so”
    All a satnat is is a map reading tool. it doesn’t know what’s there.

  5. There’s no particular reason to presume that, Ian. Satnav databases are given a fair bit of realworld input in cities & on roads which are well traveled. Which is where your driverless cars would be operating driverless. But they’re not so clever for La Frontera de Backofbeyond, where only two blokes & a dog have ever been there & the dog’s the one was reading the map.
    Oddly, my satnav is only supposed to have data for Europe, but seems to have mapping for most of the planet. It was spot on for a tiny road well into the Sahara in Algeria. Gave me enough to work out where-the-hell I was.

  6. Sounds like a dangerous spot to me. No barriers, no obvious indication that the road stops and the river begins. The SatNav bit is irrelevant.

  7. Be interesting to know what satnav he was using, as well. The one I use would show a big blue bit for the river. If there wasn’t a highway crossing it, it’d be a big clue. The one comes with my car just gives turn indications. So I guess I’d be on the pier with the next indicated turn as being the one coming off the ferry. I’m pretty sure that’s what the mapping satnav shows as the next turn as one boards at Dover. The exit road turn in Calais. Except I.go Dunkerque.

  8. The type of person who uncritically follows the advice of a sat nav is deeply thick. You plan your journey not only with your sat nav but also with a road atlas or google maps. I was recently in a remote Norfolk village after dark. My sat nav told me to turn right. It didn’t seem correct to me, so I stopped and investigated with a torch. The ‘road’ soon became a muddy track. I’ve had similar experiences in Europe, so I always investigate first.

  9. @TheJollyGreenMan, February 13, 2016 at 11:13 am

    “Even though this incident took place in Germany it was a Polish driver that was at the wheel. The first sentence is therefore misleading and shows the germanophobia of the author.”

    If you had bothered to read the second sentence you may have understood better:

    “It’s something of a cliche that Germans always do as they are told.
    But a visiting motorist from Poland appears to have taken >> his efforts to blend in << to an extreme"

    An apology to Tim is in order.

  10. I’ve used satnav (Garmin) in UK, France, Spain – mainland, Lanzarote & La Gomera – USA including Death Valley, and Oz & NZ. In USA & Oz/NZ I’ve used Garmin’s local map memory cards. Although I’ve never been really off the beaten track, by and large the satnav has been accurate. However I’ve always checked the available maps beforehand too as a sanity check.

    Really, a satnav is useful for the ‘first mile’ – getting out of a locality onto a main route, and the ‘last mile’ – getting to your destination. The rest of it should just work on road signs.

  11. @jgh puts me in mind of the occasions the GPS took me through the back streets of some Spanish town.. In a Chrysler Voyager. Got most of the way through it until I reached a corner it just wouldn’t go round. Too long. And I was most of the way through the town. So I backed about 400 meters & asked it to give me an alternate solution. 200 meters later , same problem. By this time I’m completely lost. And it’s about 3 am. i eventually came back out the same road I went in. But it was a lot easier after sun-up.

  12. One thing I’ve learned is never, ever chose the “shortest route” option.
    Place I spend a lot of time, you want to go Granada it’s 90km via the highway. I’ve heard people talking about a “shortest route” option. It’s about 25km. That’ll take you over the shoulder of the highest mountain range in Spain. At about 10,000 feet at a guess.
    I’ve never spoken to anyone who’s done it.

  13. Even in central London, garmin has sometimes wanted me to go the wrong way up a one way Street. And, with all due respect to Ian, headlights are not always helpful on an unmarked road with no street lighting. The glare just reflects off the rain.

  14. Been in those Spanish towns too, BiS. You get to a fork and no signs. Do you take the wider fork or not? It doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever you do, you end up in some guy’s yard. It is better to park up until a local comes along and then follow him.

  15. This is why I try to Google Street View anything which looks suspicious on Google Maps, or at least see if some images exist.

    If the Google car didn’t make it, I don’t think I will.

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