Wonderful Engineering

Google Maps Diverted Over 100 Drivers To A Muddy Road And They Got Stuck

A recent crash on Peña Boulevard, a feeder road that leads to Denver International Airport, was causing a traffic jam. It was then that Google Maps provided many troubled drivers with a solution; a detour that would cut down their travel time by half. Almost 100 drivers followed Google’s advice and took the detour only to end up in inches deep muddy mess on a dirt road located in the middle of a field.

The detour suggested by Google Maps took the drivers through a dirt road that had been saturated because of recent rains. The road had transformed into a choke point since several cars skidded and sank into the mud. Eventually, the entire road got blocked with a total of 100 cars stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Driver Connie Monsees who was headed to the airport to pick up her husband, said, ‘I thought ‘maybe there’s a detour’ and pulled it up on Google Maps, and it gave me a detour that was half the time. It was 43 minutes initially, and it was going to be 23 instead — so I took the exit and drove where they told me to. There were a bunch of other cars going down [the dirt road] too, so I said, ‘I guess it’s OK.’ It was not OK.’

Lucky for Monsees, her car had all-wheel-drive, and she was not only able to successfully navigate through the mud but was also able to assist others that had been stuck in the mud thus helping them reach the airport in time for their flight.

Google acknowledged the situation but said that the roads had not been marked off as private roads. According to the statement released by the company, ‘We take many factors into account when determining driving routes, including the size of the road and the directness of the route. While we always work to provide the best directions, issues can arise due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather. We encourage all drivers to follow local laws, stay attentive, and use their best judgment while driving.’

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