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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Mercedes Streeter

I was driving this rig while relying on Google Maps in the dead of night.

About 30 min from our destination, she tells me to take the nearest exit to travel on some back roads. Our destination being in the middle of practically nowhere (Indiana Beach), I didn’t think anything of it.

Turn Right.

The road we were on was too narrow for two cars to pass each other at speed. I reduced speed to 30 mph or less to be safe.

Still following the GPS, I crossed another dark country road and kept moving. A speed limit sign told me the limit was 55mph (the first speed limit sign I saw since getting on the backroads miles ago). I felt eased and sped up a little. Poor choice.

Almost instantly, the road went from a paved road to the surface of the Moon. I spent the next two or three hours trying to travel only a couple miles, but trying not to ruin the RV or the Expedition.

Once we got out of the hell, we were back on proper roads and only 15 minutes from our destination. While driving, I noticed orange water splashing up around the wheels of the trailer. No big deal, it was wet out and there’s a marker light above the wheels. I even saw that orange water splashing up on the expressway several hours ago.

It wasn’t orange water.

One of the trailer’s tyres exploded and took some of the trailer’s trim with it. The trailer was riding on its rim for at least 1 hour producing awesome sparks, I estimate before I got off the expressway but just as easily could have been on the dirt road. Surprisingly, the heavy arse wheel only got scratched and was able to be mounted less than a week later.

Nowadays I only use Waze...with the option to avoid dirt roads turned on...