Friday, July 24, 2009

The Voices Made Me Do It...

A large number of drivers these days have one of those talking GPS units suction cupped to their windshield telling them where to make their every turn.

"Turn left, 300 feet..."

We have a number of weight restricted streets in Smithville, on which commercial vehicles over a certain gross weight are prohibited from traveling.

All of these streets are clearly marked with regulatory signs to the effect of "COMMERCIAL VEHICLES OVER 5 TONS PROHIBITED".

Pretty clear, right? Apparently not.

I stopped a big rig today traveling on one of these clearly marked streets. The driver's excuse?

I was just following the directions on my GPS.

So, let me get this straight. Your GPS told you to go that way. The legally posted regulatory sign told you not to. So you chose to ignore the law and follow your GPS?

And it's not just weight limited streets. I have stopped people for driving the wrong way on one way streets, turning where the turn was clearly prohibited by signs, driving solo in the carpool lane, even speeding, and had them use the same excuse.

I often have to bite my tongue not to ask if they are part ant, and if they get hopelessly lost if they don't follow the trail.

People actually think "My GPS made me do it" is a legal justification for violating the law.

I'm beginning to think GPS units are worse for drivers than cell phones...

17 comments:

MotorCop said...

I can't believe I've never heard this excuse. Not once. Honestly, I'm shocked.

*Goddess* said...

Since you're on the subject of truck restrictions, what the heck are "jake brakes" and why are they prohibited in some areas?

C. Strong said...

Jake breaks are a way to slow the rig down by essentially stopping the engine, they are really loud so they are often times restricted in areas that are residential.

Officer Smith, you might like this article: http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/27/faith-in-gps-sends-mercedes-downstream/

Damsel Underdressed said...

Here is what is worse yet...GPS via cell phones!

Beat And Release said...

Most original excuse I ever got, after a woman passed my marked unit on a two lane road at 70 in a 35. "Officer, I have endometriosis and I'm bleeding. I'm trying to get home." Not being one to debate female anatomical problems on the side of the road, I cut her loose with a lame, "Have a nice evening, ma'am." :)

Front Porch Society said...

Never heard this one either. Of course, around here it is real hard to get lost. Just a bunch of cornfields as far as the eye can see.

Officer "Smith" said...

Mercedes in the river was an expensive mistake.

Texas Ghostrider said...

When I worked patrol I heard all about the GPS. I had people turn down one way streets the wrong way, turn where prohibited by sign and all sort of stupid things. The dumbing of America is only going to get worse.....

MJ said...

Seriously, my MIL would TOTALLY get lost if she didn't follow her GPS's every direction.

And speaking of corn fields, my parents live on the edge of nowhere, so their address doesn't show on GPS. My husband told her that, and told her what to look for to find the house. One of 6 houses on the entire road.

She missed my parents' house by 2 miles cuz the GPS didn't tell her to turn. She just has a TERRIBLE sense of direction.

My husband has the same problem, to a slightly less degree.

Officer "Smith" said...

Well, MJ, part of the problem is that people with a horrible sense of direction go out and purchase a GPS, and their sense of direction gets horribler... is that even a word?

The Bus Driver said...

I have a GPS unit that tells me where to go. It is a lifesaver, BUT with that said, Theres something to be said for common sense. Often times GPS's will simply reroute if you take a wrong turn or if you miss something, so ignoring laws blatantly because your GPS told you.. is complete bull.

Additionally, i drive large vehicles... my gps has told me to go down some pretty windy roads and pretty narrow alleys... does that mean i actually FOLLOW what it says? NOT on your LIFE! Common sense comes first in my book.

Black Ice said...

Bus Driver is dead right. Most GPS's are designed for 4-wheelers, and don't take into account height restrictions and weight limits. There has just recently been developed a GPS unit designed for big-truck routing, but a professional driver ought to know better than to blindly follow a GPS, map or dispatch's directions to the customer.

To expand on C. Strong's explanation, Jakes (retarders, exhaust brakes, etc) are a device that retards the timing of the exhaust valves, thus building up compression resistance to help slow the vehicle. They're louder than the normal exhaust note, but reasonable with proper mufflers installed.

Unfortunately, 'Supertruckers' with (illegal) straight pipes and little weenies, lighting off their unmuffled Jakes whether they're needed or not, have pissed off the citizens something fierce and led to these signs. On behalf of professional drivers, I apologize for those jerks and hope they find a more suitable career(something involving "Spare change?" or "Would you like to Super-Size that?").

Officer "Smith" said...

Oh God. Now I'm waiting for the over-height truck to get stuck under one of my overpasses....

ssims said...

My GPS (a Garmin) has a mode option to let it know what you're traveling in. For example I can set it for a regular passenger car, a large truck, pedestrian mode, etc.

I'd imagine since they have this mode option that it changes the directions given based on vehicle choice. I mean, it's only fully explained in the manual, but who wants to read when all you have to do is push buttons until it works, right?

J said...

I'm reside in Florida but was in PA for a wedding and decided to take a small detour to Philly for some sightseeing. I had a famous museum entered for my location destination...sooo, it took me deep into the Philly ghetto to an address that definitely WAS NOT a museum. Just as i arrived at this address i spot a police officer parked under the overpass and just drive over to him an explain to him what was going on because i know he was about to pull me for being suspicious as hell. He confirmed my suspicion of the location not being a museum and kinda had a smirk on his face. We eventually found what we were looking for but that was my wake up call to not listen to the voices in my head anymore...=\

Jackie said...

I know this is a really old post but I've been going back through your blog (and laughing my ass off in the process! Your blog is great!). I read this and thought i'd share a GPS story...
We have two highway exits exit #1 leads you down a main road into town, with no bridge, no restrictions etc.
exit #2 leads you into town but you have to go over a oneway bridge that has a 2.9M height limit... as well as giant metal bars that stop large trucks, RV's transports etc from crossing.
So Joe Blow from out of down misses exit #1 so his GPS tells him "Take the next exit and turn right"
Joe blow listens to his GPS and ingores the GIANT warning signs that tell him the height limit and warn of the metal bars (really GIANT signs with flashing yellow lights!)
So Joe Blow tries and to g over the bridge he hears this "Odd" grinding noise half way over the bridge he get's "Stuck"
Why? The Brand NEW RV he was hauling just had the roof peeled back like a tin can. And when the Police Officer asked why he ingnored the sign (PO happened to by my pseduo father-in-law) Joe Blow's response "The GPS told me to do it!"

Wow if the GPS told you to drive OFF of the bridge would you do that too??
Idiot!
xx
Jaxs

Loren Pechtel said...

@Jackie, there was just a case in the news, the guy did exactly that. (The GPS directed him down a road that was closed. He went around the signs and down the road--which ended in midair. Unfortunately, he lived, his wife didn't.)