CLOSE
Original image
ThinkStock

8 Drivers Who Blindly Followed Their GPS Into Disaster

Original image
ThinkStock

By Lauren Hansen

"The machine knows where it's going!" yells Michael Scott in an episode of The Office, before driving his car directly into a lake.

If his blind dedication to GPS rings a little too true, fear not, dear driver, you aren't alone. Next time the mechanical voice tells you to hang a right where none exists, trust your own two eyes instead of making these mistakes:

1. Turning into the park

In 2013, a driver on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was trying to make his way to New Jersey. But somewhere around 88th Street, the GPS he was following led him astray. The driver turned west, but instead of turning onto a street, his sedan headed down the first few stairs of an entrance to Riverside Park. The car — and the driver — were stuck on the stairs until a tow truck could erase the evidence of a very public wrong turn.

2. Driving into the bay

Three Japanese tourists in Australia used their GPS to plan a drive to North Stradbroke Island, just off the coast of the eastern city of Brisbane. But what the machine didn't account for was the nine miles of water dividing the island from the mainland. The road turned to gravel, then to thick mud, then to gentle laps of water against the tires. The three were forced to abandon the vehicle and return on foot. Passengers aboard a passing ferry — the recommended way to get to the island — reportedly watched the whole embarrassing event unfold. A tow truck gave the poor tourists a ride back, and the car, not being worth the repair, was sent to the dump.

3. Continuing on and on and on

All Sabine Moreau wanted to do was pick up a friend from the train station, which was north of her home in Hainault Erquelinees, Brussels. But when the GPS directions took her south instead of north, the 67-year-old woman didn't question it. She stuck by her GPS when she saw the signs for the German towns of Frankfurt, Aachen, and Cologne. And when the lengthy trip forced her to refuel twice, and pull over to catch a few hours of shut-eye — Moreau didn't question the machine even then. Only when she entered the Croatian capital of Zagreb did she finally realize something was up. Her friend at the train station and her son had also caught on, and her son called the police. When Moreau finally returned home, all she said by way of explanation was, "I admit it's a little weird, but I was distracted."

4. Riding up to a cliff's edge

In 2009, Robert Jones' reliance on his satellite navigation system nearly got the best of him when he was driving in West Yorkshire, England. The "road" began to steepen and narrow, but still he plugged on. "It kept insisting the path was a road," he later explained, "so I just trusted it." Jones only realized how wrong he was when his car bumped up against a thin wire fence just inches from a 100-foot drop. He managed to get out safely, but the car remained balanced on the edge. It took a recovery team nine hours to haul the car away, and Jones was given a court citation for driving without care and attention.

5. Making a U-turn into a lake

In 2011, three women visiting Bellevue, Wash., were out after midnight, unable to find their way back to their hotel. After asking the GPS to re-route, they took what they thought was a road that would lead them to the highway. Instead, their SUV ended up sinking into deep water. The "road" turned out to be a boat launch, and the water a lake. All three managed to get out safely, but by the time the tow truck arrived, the SUV was completely submerged. "We've seen sitcom parodies of something like this and to actually see it is surprising," said a local fireman.

6. Running straight into a house

Early one foggy Saturday morning in 2011, a father was driving his wife and two kids through South Brunswick, N.J.  At a T intersection, where the only options were left and right, this driver opted instead to follow his GPS guidance and go straight. He missed the initial stop sign, ran over the lip of the curb, and continued for another 100 feet before hitting a house. Unfortunately, two passengers who were not wearing seat belts were hurt and taken to the hospital. "This stuff really happens," a police spokesman remarked.

7. Getting stuck in a cherry tree

In 2007, a 37-year-old German truck driver had his GPS guide him to a Swiss factory where he was to deliver his cargo. But instead of heeding the "no-entry" warning signs that should have deterred him, the driver followed the sound of the female voice until the truck ended up wedged in the cradle of a cherry tree. The truck was stuck fast, and the driver couldn't reverse. Local officials eventually had to chop down branches of the tree to get the truck out.

8. Veering into a sand pit

GPS often can't account for changes, like construction. But that's why drivers have eyes and, ideally, wits. Unfortunately, one or the other was missing from a German couple driving around Hamburg one night in 2006. The 80-year-old driver was so dedicated to his navigation's know-how that he ignored a highway's initial "closed for construction" sign, as well as several successive barricades, until he plowed right into a sand pit. Luckily, the motorists escaped uninjured, though their egos were likely bruised.

Sources: ABC NewsCNETDaily MailEl MundoKVAL.comNBCNews.com.auSoftpedia.com, West Side Rag

Original image
Getty
arrow
Lists
8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
Original image
Getty

Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

Original image
Getty Images
arrow
Lists
11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
Original image
Getty Images

Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios