Since the introduction of GPS satellite navigation systems, drivers have become increasingly reliant on the devices to get from A to B. The days of executing a meticulously planned road trip from map reading and navigational skills alone have become a thing of the past.
Okay, maybe we weren’t all great navigators like Christopher Columbus. The reality of most map-guided journeys was a screaming match with the other half over which turnoff to take and where the next opportunity to make a U-turn was.
No one can argue that GPS has made our lives easier. In fact, it’s probably saved a few marriages. But are there any dangers in turning off our brains and turning on the GPS? What happens when GPS fails us? Not necessarily by being wrong, but by being too right.
GPS does such a good job of computing the most direct route from point A to point B that it can occasionally take us down some questionable roads and lead us in some strange directions, sometimes with terrible consequences.
1. Boy Dies After GPS Leaves Him And His Mother Stranded
In summer 2009, 28-year-old nurse Alicia Sanchez and her six-year-old son were driving through the hot, arid landscape of Death Valley National Park in eastern California when the GPS directed her down a remote road. A week later, a park ranger found her Jeep Cherokee 32 kilometers (20 mi) away, buried up to its axles in sand. “SOS” was spelled out in medical tape on the window.
An exhausted and severely dehydrated Sanchez collapsed into the park ranger’s arms while the lifeless body of her six-year-old son lay slumped in the front seat. They had survived for several days on bottled water, Pop-Tarts, and cheese sandwiches, but tragically, the boy didn’t make it. He had died two days before his mother was rescued.