5 of the biggest Sat Nav blunders in 2023

5 of the biggest Sat Nav blunders in 2023

Satellite navigation is a wonderful innovation, and there’s no doubt that it’s made countless lives easier over roughly the last 30 years or so. However, as we’re sometimes painfully reminded from time to time, there is such a thing as being too reliant on technology. And when it comes to sat-navs, occasionally those mishaps can be a little… well, catastrophic.

You’re probably thinking a sat-nav mistake sounds like a terrible way to end a journey, especially if you’ve hired the car in question. And you’d be right – these unlucky drivers would probably agree with you!

Touching history

If you’ve ever been to Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales, you may be familiar with St Catherine’s Island. It’s a lovely little spot, and very popular with tourists – including the two Americans who decided to pay it a visit back in October 2023. Unfortunately, they tried to reach it via a public footpath, which wouldn’t be so much of a problem if they hadn’t been driving a £20,000 Nissan Juke at the time. A rented one, at that.

Normally, a bollard would have been blocking that public footpath, but for whatever reason it happened to be absent that week, and so the two enterprising tourists optimistically continued driving the Nissan down the footpath ‘until it could go no further’. Eventually realising this, they were forced to escape out of the windows, before catching a train to their hotel.

The Nissan, on the other hand, remained stranded for a week. “No one’s ever got it down there before,” said one rescuer, who sounds for all the world like he might be a little bit impressed despite himself. His good humour is all the more admirable when you consider that the driver managed to wedge this Nissan between two walls that were actually protected Victorian heritage, so they couldn’t be altered in any way.

For a while, there was even talk of dismantling the Nissan where it sat, but thankfully for the car, it ultimately got removed without the need to take the proverbial sledgehammer to it. As you can imagine though, it did have a couple of scratches…

A tight spot

Another seaside mishap occurred in the Cornish town of Padstow. Essentially, a German tourist got his motorhome wedged between buildings in a road that ITV generously describes as “clearly not suited for larger vehicles”. You can’t fault him for optimism though – reportedly, after getting it stuck, the man and his wife reversed out and tried again. This time though, the driver managed to burn out the clutch, and that was the end of it.

At least they had the sympathy of the locals. “The poor chap and his missus were in bits,” said one onlooker. “It was impossible not to feel sorry for them.”

Special delivery

Another dispatch from Cornwall, this one also involving harbour towns and listed monuments (there’s a couple of weird patterns cropping up in some of these, isn’t there?). This time, the driver of a 33-tonne Amazon HGV managed to get it wedged between two Grade II listed buildings in the seaside village of St Agnes, Cornwall. In case you’re wondering how people knew it was an Amazon lorry, that’s because it said PRIME in large letters along the side, which was clearly visible even between the buildings.

Similarly, we know it was a satnav mishap because the driver hopped out and told onlookers exactly that. To his credit though (or not, depending on your perspective), he didn’t give up. Great when you’re powering through a marathon, not so hot when you’re scraping a 33-tonne vehicle between two legally protected historical monuments. After about half an hour or so, the driver finally persevered. Fingers crossed he’s not caused permanent damage!

A step in the wrong direction

In December of 2023, a driver took a wrong turn outside Edinburgh Castle. That’s not news in itself – if you’ve ever driven around the castle, large sections of the area are pedestrianised, so it’s annoyingly easy to take a wrong turn and find yourself in a bit of an awkward spot. This one was a bit more awkward than others though, as the driver of the Mitsubishi Colt suddenly found himself teetering onto the top of a long flight of steps.

The governor of the castle said the situation reminded him a bit of the car chase from the Italian Job, but “gone wrong”. The tabloids then ran with this quote as “doing an Italian Job” (which let’s be honest, is a bit of a misrep­res­en­ta­tion of both Italians and jobs, at this stage). Thankfully the driver avoided disaster, managing to bring the vehicle to a halt before doing any more than the first few steps, leaving the vehicle perched somewhat precariously until emergency services were able to rescue it. Thankfully, the car was only there for few hours before it was removed – thank heavens for good handbrakes.

Taking the plunge

Without question the scariest one on our list, especially as it happened in the dark. One driver was following the directions of his satnav in Essex, when he suddenly realised that his steering was a little more sluggish than usual, largely because the car was already partially underwater. Thankfully, the driver managed to escape and seek help on his own – and by the time police were able to attend, his car was almost entirely submerged.

Reporting the incident on their Facebook page, Uttlesford police took care to stress that the car was found B1256 and A120 junctions – presumably to provide the driver with some consolation that he was at least not too far from where he meant to be, even if he ended up a little wetter than he’d intended. Eagle-eyed commenters on that post pointed out that the car seemed to have been driven down a track called Flitch Way. Most such tracks terminate in a junction, or at least a private residence. Unfortunately, this particular track ended in the River Chelmer – which is where our unlucky driver briefly ended up.

Each of these incidents serve as handy reminders that while satnavs can be undeniably useful, it’s often healthy to treat them with a fair bit of scepticism as well. That goes doubly so if they’re older models that don’t receive constant updates, as roads can change all the time – especially in larger urban areas! If you’re concerned about how to avoid similar accidents, you might want to check out our post on how to save yourself from a satnav disaster. And in case you’re wondering, we don’t supply satnavs ourselves here at Intack Self Drive – most hire agreements don’t, to be honest.

We’ll tell you what we can supply though, and that’s a huge range of choice between more than 450 hundred vehicles – so whether you need to hire a car, hire a van, or indeed almost any other type of vehicle, you can always count on us to have just the thing to suit you. Feel free to give us a call on 01254 57811, and we’ll be happy to help however we can!

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