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10/07/2010

GPS leads driver into marsh

The directionally challenged may want to think twice about trusting their GPS units after one Ontario woman reportedly followed the gadget's directions and wound up way off the beaten trail.

The latest incident of GPS-driver error happened when a 25-year-old woman drove into a marsh near Trenton, Ont. It’s not exactly clear how she got so terribly lost, but police have shed some light on how they rescued her.

The driver called 911 just before 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night, standing on top of her car which was starting to look more like the Titanic than a road-going vehicle.

Despite a search by two detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police, the driver couldn’t be found. So officials asked her to honk her horn several times to help with the search before firefighters dressed up in wet suits and entered a nearby marsh where they found the driver, standing on her vehicle, in the middle of the marsh.

The driver was found almost an hour after police arrived.

I don’t think police can charge a driver for being stupid, although maybe lawmakers should consider that as an offence. It’s one thing to wind up in the wrong town or go to the wrong address (Lake Shore Boulevard vs. Lakeshore Street if you’re not careful). Doing something like this based on a GPS unit's directions sadly appears to be a recurring trend.

In the past, a woman following walking directions from Google Maps got hit by a car because she walked on a highway. She ended up suing Google for faulty directions.

GPS worked in the favour of Swiss police who used Google Earth to discover a hidden marijuana farm.

But how do you end up in the middle of a marsh? Was the driver putting too much trust in technology?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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