January 16, 2007

Stop, Look, Listen

In Berlin, a 46-year-old German motorist driving along a busy road suddenly veered to the left and ended up stuck on a railway track, because his satellite navigation system told him to.

When the friendly voice from his satnav told him to turn left, he did what he was 'ordered' to do and turned his Audi left up over the curb and onto the track of a local streetcar line.

Evidently, several German motorists have crashed their cars in recent months, later telling police they were only obeying orders from their satnavs.

Personally, I think we should use a warning label to solve this design problem. The label should say "Warning: This driver is too stupid to use all their five senses while using the on-board satnav system. Approach with Caution!'

Okay, so there's maybe a real usability issue here, but if the driver is dumb enough to not see the curb and the train tracks, what other mistakes are they likely to make at an intersection in traffic?

I can't help but think they should go back to basic drivers' training school and learn what they should do to avoid a crash with a train.