Gone are the days that we pulled maps out of our glove compartments if we need help getting to our destination. Years ago, before the invention of the Smartphone or GPS, we had to rely on maps and other people if we got lost. While Google Maps and other GPS services have made traveling easier, you never know if you can trust these devices. A large group of drivers in Denver learned this in late June 2019.
Raining In Denver
Throughout the month of June, Denver, Colorado got more rain than they are used to. Between the rain and all the winter snow that has since melted, the ground is soft and muddy. This has made getting around in certain areas particularly difficult.
Connie Monsees was driving one day in Denver. She was headed to the Denver International Airport when she noticed that there was a lot of traffic up ahead. Rather than sitting in traffic and being late to the airport, she decided to take out her phone and see if Google Maps could suggest a better route where there was less traffic. After entering the airport’s address, the navigation system told her to take the next exit. According to Google Maps, she would arrive at her destination in half the time. Connie thought things were really going her way.
Taking Her Exit
When Connie took her exit, she realized that she wasn’t the only person who took this route to avoid the traffic jam. There was a line of cars ahead of her, so she assumed that everyone had the same idea that she did. As she drove a bit, she realized that the paved street turned into a dirt road. Suddenly, she realized that avoiding the traffic jam wasn’t the best idea. The dirt road had caused hundreds of cars to sink in the mud. 100 drivers stranded in Denver after Google Maps directs them through a ‘muddy mess of a field’.
Much of the dirt is Colorado is a type of clay soil. When it doesn’t rain, the soil is hard and can be driven on easily. Unfortunately, it had rained a lot in Denver in June, and the dirt turned into a clay soil-based mud. Many of the cars ahead of Connie were stuck in ditches and ruts in the road. Connie was fortunate. She drives an all-wheel-drive vehicle, which was very helpful in getting out of the mud before her vehicle had a chance to sink into the ground. As she tried to get out, she tore up the wheel well in her front passenger tire. She was lucky.
Offering a Ride
Connie saw the stranded travelers on the side of the road. She knew that many of them had flights to catch, so she offered a few strangers a ride. Two of them took her up on her offer because they were desperate to get to the airport in time to make their flight. They were going to call a tow truck to get their vehicle to their home.
So Many Drivers
As Connie turned around, she noticed all of the drivers who were stranded on the side of the road and refused to leave their vehicles. Connie felt terrible for the people on the side of the road, but she was thrilled that she was able to get to the airport on time, along with the two strangers she was helping.
Reaching Out To Google
Because there were 100 cars stuck on the side of the road, the local news reported the story. They reached out to Google for a comment on the situation. A rep told the local news that Google Maps is designed to offer alternate routes in case of traffic jams. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t take into account the recent weather or the conditions of the roads. The rep says that the app had no way of knowing that the dirt road it was sending drivers down was going to be too muddy to travel down.
Technology Good Or Bad
What happened on the road that day had people questioning the effectiveness and
Connie was one of the fortunate drivers that day. She didn’t travel far down the road, so she didn’t have a chance to get stuck too deep in the mud. She also had her vehicle to thank. Connie ended up making it to the airport on time. She also got her new passengers there on time as well. Connie says that she can’t blame Google Maps for what happened since the app doesn’t warn you about muddy roads.