GPS units are not quite ready for prime time in Floyd

Car_accident I have seen GPS units work well in many areas of the country but I have heard reports that they are unreliable guides in Floyd County.

Today one of my customers drove from Ferrum College to my shop in Floyd and his GPS unit took him over miles of single lane dirt roads instead of on a paved highway.  They had looked at a map before starting the drive but they put their trust in the GPS unit and got taken for a ride on two of the most difficult roads in the area.

Ferrum College is on Route 40 and our shop is off Franklin Pike and there are several different routes between these two points which have reasonably wide paved roads.

I can't even imagine how one would program a GPS unit to select the narrowest and most dangerous road to drive on. I don't think there is a GPS setting which gives you the choice of primitive back roads.

Those of you who have driven Runnet Bag Rd and Cannaday School Gap Rd know that even in good weather, you want all-wheel drive to avoid white-knuckle driving. In wet or icy weather, Runnet Bag Rd is extremely hazardous at any speed. One of of the curves even has a reverse bank which causes the car to slide toward the outside of the curve even at low speeds.

This customer was driving a small underpowered car with two-wheel drive and they definitely did not want to return to Ferrum on dirt roads.

Has anyone else noticed their GPS unit selecting routes that are a bit on the wild side?

[Picture credit: Raw Feed]

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0 Responses to GPS units are not quite ready for prime time in Floyd

  1. Michael Kohne says:

    The GPS in question probably has no concept that certain roads are ‘better’ than others. It just thinks all roads are the same, and is looking for ‘shortest path’ or ‘fastest time’ based on speed limits and such.

    I’d love to know if the underlying map databases have any clue that these roads are bad news.

  2. mattbg says:

    I have seen mapping systems that can prefer certain types of roads over others, but not to the extent of choosing asphalt over gravel/dirt — usually avoiding toll roads or major highways and things like that.

    I don’t use GPS because I am not particularly inconvenienced by planning my trip. In fact, I think it’s just sensible to know where you’re going in advance.

    Worst case:
    http://www.switched.com/2009/03/25/man-follows-gps-to-the-edge-of-a-cliff/

  3. John says:

    Just another reason why I won’t own a GPS unit, ever. I’ve seen this happen all too often. People from other offices within the company use them to get to Blacksburg, and it takes them through Ellett Valley coming off Exit 128 in Ironto, rather than bring them all the way to Exit 118 and US 460 (which is more direct, shorter, faster, less confusing, and on better roads). Nothing electronic or computerized replaces common sense.

  4. Zack says:

    Had a simular problem with a GPS just recently. I knew the route but the driver kept following his GPS even after it made two mistakes.

    Then it started telling us to turn right or left while in tunnels or on overpasses. He FINALLY started to listen to me. The GPS had little concept of z coordinates and as a result was unreliable anytime there was a tunnel or bridge. We forced him to turn it off for the drive home and it was much faster and easier without it.

    I have also noticed that many people get so used to a GPS that they don’t know how to navigate without one. They don’t bother remembering locations since the box tells them where to go. SO you can have them never learn how to get to the store they drive too all the time. They don’t LOOK where they are going they just follow instructions.

  5. Girish says:

    I just couldn’t help laughing, sorry for the guy who was driving. But the picture is just funny.

    That apart, Nobody thinks of driving without a map or directions from a friend in my part of the world. GPS units in non-western countries have no idea about roads and their condition at any given moment. And to make it worse we have overnight popping up of signs like one-way and closed for construction thingies.

    The flip side of not being dependent on technology is it keeps people on their toes. So this particular accident had me laughing.

  6. Tom King says:

    And now for the local news…. My gps will send you to Silverleaf Road when you ask for Sliverleaf Lane and it likes to take you via the parkway

  7. Joey Kaylor says:

    Whats wrong with Runnet Bag to Cannadays Gap? Thats a nice road lol.

  8. Jeff Blakley says:

    Joey got it right – you have the road in question in your post as Cannaday School Rd. Cannaday Gap Rd. is a different road, as I’m sure you know.

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