I knew that satnavs sometimes can be deceiving, but *DAMN*...

According to newspaper reports, a Belgian lady intended to drive from her home to a train station in Brussels to pick up a friend… But somehow, following the indications of her car satnav, she ended up driving all the way to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia – Roughly 900 miles and 2 days away.

Newspaper reports here (newspaper report #1), here (newspaper report #2), here (newspaper report #3, in Spanish) and here (newspaper report #4, in Dutch).

Also, Gizmodo here.

I - simply - don’t - get - it.

HOW can you mistake a 900-mile and 2-day trip for a drive that, AT MOST, should have been like, 1 or 2 hours?

Either the story is bullshit, or the lady is hiding something, or she is showing very serious symptoms of dementia. The story can be found in many many newspapers all over the place, but that doesn’t mean it is not bullshit. If it is not bullshit, the most charitable option would be for her to be suffering from dementia (and she keeps her driver’s license because, in Belgium, once you get your license it’s forever - no checks as you get old, nothing).

Anyway, I am astonished. And (if the story is true) I feel sorry for her son, who ended up calling the police, which was on the verge of starting a country-wide search operation when the lady apparently called from Zagreb to say that she had ended up there.

I have had my own GPS send me in weird directions – who hasn’t? But even then, I would say that after, like, 6 hours’ driving, I would at least begin to be suspicious…

(Regarding borders – to go from Belgium to Germany, from there to Austria and from there to Slovenia, I can accept that you can do that without noticing it. In the Schengen area, when you drive and cross a border the only thing that shows it is a small-ish blue sign that gives you the name of the new country – It is easy to miss if you are absent-minded. Croatia is a bit more problematic. They still have technically border controls. However, I remember driving to Croatia once and finding that the border post was empty, there was nobody there, and I just drove through).

In any case, this is beyond weird. I think that there must be more to the story.

Missed edit window :stuck_out_tongue:

I wanted to ask: You end up driving through Germany, Austria and Slovenia and don’t realize it? OK, having to use a different currency when stopping for gas wouldn’t work, because those countries all use the euro. But… The language?

Another problem is that, in Austria and Slovenia, you have to buy a special sticker when you get into the country that you must affix to the windshield of your car in order to be allowed to drive on the country’s roads. A kind of “road tax” or toll that you pay on entering the country. However, it is also true that nothing forces you to stop and buy the stickers in either country. The only risk you run is if the police stops you --and then you have to pay a fine.

Satnavs are terrible. I keep typing in Paradise, NV, and I end up in Honolulu. You’d think that I’d notice all that water.

Heck, just a few weeks ago I was driving from Chicago to Cleveland and my system kept trying to put me on I-94 East to Detroit.

What was the name of the train station she was going to? I could easily imagine she wanted to go to a station called “Zagrek” for example, and the nav thought “Zagreb”

Scratch that idea… looks like there are three stations in Brussels - Gare du Nord / Noordstation, Gare Centrale / Brussel Centraal and Gare du Midi / Zuidstation. Not terribly similar to Zagreb.

I don’t think there is more to the story other than an old confused woman. For instance there was a recent case of an older Oregon couple who were driving 10 minutes to their daughter’s house (a trip they had presumably done hundreds of times) and ended up 12 hours and 400 miles away and in another state. So an unknown destination and route could easily be enough to confuse someone especially if only the next distance and time were listed and you never saw the 900-mile total distance before she started.

Yup, the article I read had quotes from her saying she’d noticed the changing languages in the signs but she was “distracted.” Chalk this up to the aging brain.

I think there’s more broken there than the GPS unit.

This is actually a very, very common early symptom of dementia. The person does fine getting around town as long as they stick with their usual routes - but as soon as they have to vary their route to reach their destination (because of a detour, for example), they get hopelessly lost. When I was a resident, my hospital had a geriatric psych ward; it wasn’t uncommon to get elderly patients admitted for a dementia workup who’d been intending to drive to someplace in Harrisburg and who, missing their exit, just kept on going on I 83 until they wound up in the inner harbor of Baltimore, very confused about where they were.

Yeah, well… sometimes I find myself in my kitchen with no bloody clue why I’m there.

Your kitchen? Normal. Some stranger’s kitchen a few towns over? Not so much.

Sites like Slashdot sometimes run links to stories about really weird routes suggest by Google Maps, et al.

One a few years back in Europe suggested a route in Norway that involved taking a ferry to England and back.

It doesn’t take much for a naive person who trusts computers way too much to go very far out of their way.

You were supposed to get me a beer, dammit!

There was a similar story posted a month or two ago here about an old man and his wife who drove for days all over the US on what should have been a fairly short trip.
So I’m going with dementia, or something.

One subdivision I work in quite often has streets that seem to move from Michigan to Texas on my GPS. But I do tend to notice the difference between a 15-mile commute and a 1,500-mile commute…

This story just seems too unbelievable.
A Belgian lady wants to pick up her friend from the Brussels train station about 90 miles away. She mistypes her destanation in the GPS… and 900 miles later ends up in Zagreb realizing her mistake.
I just looked up Belgium in relation to Zagreb on google maps. WTF? How does this happen? She says she was distracted? Oh my.
If you’re from Belgium you probably know where Brussels is you’d think. After driving for 2 hours or so wouldn’t you think something was amiss? 2 days later? Sheesh.

Beaten to the punch


I’ve done that exact same thing in Belgium. I got Lieges and Lille confused in my brain. I can’t even blame the GPS which was on its way Bratislava instead of Brussels. :smack::smack:

At least it was only a two hour mistake.

Merged duplicate threads.

Last year I was going to Ommegang. I had two GPS’s, a Garmin Nuvi & an Android phone. When I got to the last turn, the Android said turn left & my destination would be on the left, the Nuvi said turn RIGHT & my destination would be on the left. (Meaning not only could they agree which way to turn but they couldn’t agree on which side of the road.) I trusted the Android figuring it updates more frequently than the outdated map in my Nuvi. I guessed wrong. In my case it was about 1.5 miles out of the way, including doubling back, but I can see how someone would trust the “trusty little accurate device” & not question it, especially if it had never failed them before & they were unfamiliar with where they were going.

My pet peeve is that the routes are planned by people who don’t live in the area. Kansas City has a lot of train tracks, and they should be considered when planning a route. One especially notorious one is Johnson Drive under I-35 in Shawnee, KS.

Even worse is trying to get to Knuckleheads Saloon. It’s in the East Bottoms, and the entire area is surrounded by train tracks. On the north side, there are actually five sets of tracks, and every single GPS system wants to keep you on the highway as long as possible, and routed to Front Street, and it is actually possible to get trapped between two sets of train tracks. One of the sets is not visible from Front Street and is a feeder for a Cargill grain processing plant that loads one…train…car…at…a…time…for…hours. It’s entirely possible to completely miss a concert due to ignorant GPS programming.