Google Maps recommends route over bridge that collapsed 10 years ago

‘Philip Paxson, 47, a medical device salesman, was on his way home from his daughter’s camping-themed ninth birthday party in Hickory, N.C., on Sept. 30, 2022, navigating a rainy night on unfamiliar roads, when he drove off a collapsed roadway into a creek and drowned’ (
‘Nearly a year after Mr. Paxson’s death, Mr. Zimmerman said, the bridge has not been repaired and that Google Maps is still directing drivers to cross it.’
‘the collapsed bridge, which was unmarked, with no barricades.’

Not blaming google, but this sounds actionable.

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According to the article that I read, there had been barriers, but vandals had “recently” removed them. If the plaintiffs can prove that the barriers were missing for an extended period of time, then they can probably prevail, but if it turns out that the barriers had gone missing for just a very brief time, then it might be hard to win their case.


I don’t know what the barriers were, but IMO they should have been concrete median strip barriers. They would be difficult or impossible to move unless the vandals had heavy equipment to move them.


As far as online or GPS maps, they are only as good as the information they are provided. Example, limited access highway near me. Entrance had been a right turn from the surface road, construction in the area required changing the entrance ramp to a left turn over a year ago, the state has still not updated their maps.

That’s true, but my first almost mishap with Google Maps involved their direction to cross RR tracks where there is no crossing, and–according to the locals–there has never been a crossing.

Reminds me of a guy that ran his boat aground. Coast Guard Auxiliary that responded to tow him off the sandbar asked if he had charts. Owner says yes, pulls out a placemat from a seafood restaurant.




“That right there is funny…No matter who you are!” (Larry the Cable Guy)

Drilling down, I think the property owners needed to be more aggressive in barricading the road as their insurance agent would have told them. Now complicated a little bit by historic public use of what looks like a field road. I think after years of use it may have become the responsibility of the county, or how I would argue it anyway.

You just cannot and should not rely on a gps. I think ours is Tom Tom but it still thinks we are driving through a corn field after the four lane limited access road was re-aligned. Waze might have been a better option for up to the minute road information.

One of the things that surprises me with GPS is that the same destination can result in different directions, on different days. Yes, I know that road closures and traffic conditions will change the routing, but a few days ago, my GPS wanted to send me South, for a destination to the East/Northeast. There were no road closures or traffic congestion at the time.

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Remember 1 time dragging the boat back from a used parts place, maybe 45 miles, set to shortest route, there I was on 1.5 lane dirt roads!

Well, you can program your GPS to “avoid toll roads”, but unfortunately I don’t think you can program it to “avoid 40 miles of dirt roads”.

We didn’t have navagationback in 1974 but found myself on a dirt road on the wrong part of town in Natchez ms. New car, out of state plates, getting dark. Got the heck out of there. Dang paper maps.

I’ve found that sometimes Apple Maps and Google Maps provide different routes at the same time.

Sometimes that artificial intelligence a bit too artificial!

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Years ago my friend had a Tomtom GPS that thought irrigation canals were roads. It would constantly direct him to turn onto a canal near his house.

To me, the key to using GPS mapping to get around is to still keep my brain engaged. If I’m being directed to drive down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, I’m going to stop and reevaluate. Same for being directed to cross a bridge that may or may not exist.

Several years ago, we were using a TomTom type GPS on a vacation . The directions suddenly told us to turn left off a back country road, drive through the woods (no road), and get on the interstate that way. Needless to say, the GOS was ignored and had to recalculate. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Luckily, these things do have the ability to recalculate, so a few minutes after I took the logical route, it came to its senses and continued the correct path that I had initiated.

Of course, when a person has no clue as to the correct direction, there can be a big problem. I know a guy who suffers from Agoraphobia, so he doesn’t leave the house very often. He took my suggestion to buy a Garmin, because he also seems to have no sense of direction.

The last time that he visited my home, he told me (the next day) that it took him a grueling 3.5 hours to get back to his home, despite the fact that it should have taken him only a bit more than 1 hour.

When I next visited his home, I asked to take a look at his Garmin, and it turned out that he had programmed it for “avoid all toll roads”. That automatically increased his travel time by a significant amount.

Then, when I rode in his car with him, I observed that when the Garmin said “right (or left) turn ahead”, he would immediately crank the wheel and take the first turn that he came to. So, even if Garmin was able to give him correct directions, he was essentially driving around in circles, and while the Garmin would always recalculate his route, the unnecessary detours that he took made for a MUCH longer trip.


OnStar’s turn-by turn helped my directionally challenged wife find client’s homes when she was working for an assisted living facility until the “help” became helpless and OnStar wanted big bucks for the concierge service that had navigation.

We bought a Garmin. Huge help for her. But she reads the part about “turn right, 200 yards” even though she has no clue how far 200 yards is… but she knows it isn’t “turn NOW.”

I think part of these mapping screw-ups are because far too many people only look 25 yards down the road, at best. You can identify them when they either STOP dead on the highway or abruptly swerve into your lane when theirs ends after 6 warning signs the previous mile and the 3 foot high cones blocking the lane and 5 foot long arrows pointing to the next lane. :roll_eyes: