Too Stupid To Drive

The wonders of the Register pointed me to an article about a UK woman who had a bit of a mishap with her Satnav.

In a nutshell, this woman borrowed her boyfriend’s satnav to help her navigate a drive she was unfamiliar with. She then claims the satnav directed her to an unmanned, gated, rail crossing. She drove to the crossing, unlocked the first gate, drove forwards (onto the rails), got out and closed the gate behind her. As she was going to open the gate in front she heard a train coming and (wisely) decided to get out of the way. The train proceeded to destroy her car.

For some reason, the woman seems to totally misunderstand the chain of events which placed her in front of the train:

The impact of the Pembroke Dock to Swansea train carried Ceely’s Renault Clio for half a mile down the track, and put a pretty dent in her no-claims bonus. The exasperated satnav rookie added: “I put my complete trust in the satnav and it led me right into the path of a speeding train. The crossing wasn’t shown on the satnav, there were no signs at all, and it wasn’t lit up to warn of an oncoming train.”

Wow. As an aside, there are signs and warning notices informing drivers there is a level crossing ahead. This even ignores the fact the level crossing goes over a bloody train track. This is hard to miss. In an effort to appear magnanimous she does concede it is not all the satnav’s fault:

Celly did, however, accept some liability for the smash. She conceded: “I can’t completely blame the sat nav because up until there, it did get me where I needed to go. If maybe I had been more aware of the situation, I wouldn’t have had the accident.” In conclusion, Celly offered: “I’ll never use a sat nav again. You rely on them and if it all goes wrong, you’re horribly stuck. People should be more careful with them – you never know where they might lead you.”

Amazing. I am having a really hard time getting my head round what tortured logic this woman uses to ascribe the accident – in any way, shape or form – to the satnav. Did the satnav tell her were traffic lights are? Did it tell her what side of the road to drive on? Did it say when to slow down at corners?

I am amazed she passed her driving test.

[tags]bad-drivers, culture, idiot, satnav, society[/tags]

SatNav & PDA Advice wanted

I will keep this short and sweet for now. I am considering buying a satnav GPS device and, from initial research I think I would like a PDA version, rather than the more “normal” car mounted satnav system.

Obviously, as a poor blogger (feel free to donate 🙂 ) I am aiming for the cheapest one possible, but I still want to avoid a total lemon. Does anyone have any suggestions / comments on the topic? Ideally, I want one which is relatively easy to add new maps to (North America would be useful but not straight away).

Would a SatNav be better (more cost effective) than a PDA? While I feel I would like a PDA, I will admit I am not sure the extra functions will get used. The main reason for the purchase is to be able to navigate to remote places, I am not sure that being able to write a spreadsheet when I am there will be that valuable. Also, if I go for a PDA, would getting one with WiFi be worth it? It strikes me that a PDA without WiFi would be pretty pointless, the trivial task of bluetoothing data from my phone to PC is annoying, so I can only assume it would be worse with a PDA.

In a perfect world, I would be able to get the system for under £150, but I suspect that is massively over-optimistic, especially if I want a WiFi PDA. I have seen the MIO P550 PDA, which seems to have everything I want, for around £220 — does anyone know if it is worthwhile? Is there a Linux GPS PDA with WiFI? That would probably tick every one of the boxes as far as my buying wishes went 🙂