What Is Your Worst GPS-Fail Story?

Illustration for article titled What Is Your Worst GPS-Fail Story?

Once, I asked someone who is not a Youth how they managed to get around in the days before GPS. They shrugged their shoulders and said, “Maps. And we just got lost a lot.”


That sounded gross to me, An Youth, but they brought up a good point that I shamefully admit to you now: I’m bullshit at reading maps and my reliance in GPS systems in cars and phones has not done me any favors. At least a map will still be there for you when a GPS shits out. Unless you forget how to read or something.

Jalopnik’s lovely managing editor, Erin Marquis, has a story about when her GPS failed on her and led her somewhere it should not have.


“I was in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula driving around, looking for waterfalls,” she wrote. “The UP has, like, four roads in the whole half of the state, should have been easy.

“Until I ended up down a dirt road, that turned into a two-track in the woods. Which then ended at a what can only be described as ‘murder cabin’ in the woods. At that moment, a huge lifted truck shows up behind us with full high beams blaring the horn. He gets out and is screaming at us that we’re on his private land and he could shoot us, etc. Real survivalist type.

“I tried to get out, but there’s no where to go, it’s trees on all sides and this two track is the only way out and his truck is there. Things were tense.”

And that’s how Erin became some dude’s mountain wife.

I’m totally kidding. She was eventually able to calm the guy down enough to tell him that they had taken a wrong turn and were sorry. Apparently, they weren’t the first people to bungle down that road. So, he backed up into the woods so she could back up, but then she got stuck in some sand. The guy went from screaming at her to towing her off his land.


What about you? What’s your worst GPS-fail story?

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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The English Guy

Arguably my biggest GPS fail wasn’t the GPS’ fault at all.

Did you know iPhones shut down to save themselves at 120°? Discovered that out in the desert. Phone mounted on the bars of my motorcycle.

Did you know that Google didn’t save the map data it currently has and need to reconnect after a shutdown? (You can now make it cache it)

Did you know that AT&T’s coverage, say out in the desert, gets laughable?

Such great times, out in the AZ/UT desert near four corners. No idea where you were. No idea which turn you needed. No idea where the next gas station was for your laughably short ranged bike fuel tank.

I now cache every region and take screenshots at several levels of zoom, for good measure. And carry a backup battery too. Still not going to carry a backup paper map. What is this, the dark ages?!