Woman Follows GPS Straight Into Lake Huron, Swims To Safety

Now that’s taking following instructions a little too far. A woman from Ontario, Canada ended up going for a little swim shortly after midnight on May 13 when her GPS steered her into Lake Huron.

The 23-year-old woman took a wrong turn as she was driving due to her adherence to her GPS, and according to the Independent, police say it would be fairly easy to end up plunging into Lake Huron if a wrong turn was inadvertently taken.

“She would have been driving on the road, and then all of a sudden just dropped and hit water,” Constable Katrina Rubinstein-Gilbert told the Canadian Press.

The woman, who hails from Kitchener, Ontario, was driving near Tobermory, a small town on Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, and following her GPS instructions as she was driving in the dark, rainy night of May 13. Thankfully, after the GPS steered the woman wrong and sent her into Little Tub Harbour in Tobermory, the woman had enough time to roll down her window, grab her purse, and swim 30 meters to shore.

Lake Huron’s temperature was at around 4 C (39.2 F) at the time of the midnight swim. The woman was able to walk to a nearby hotel and call police from there. Her Toyota Yaris, along with the GPS, was fished from Lake Huron early Friday morning.

This is, however, was not the first time someone blindly followed their GPS into problematic circumstances. According to The Week, there are at least eight other instances where someone has unwittingly taken their GPS instructions a little too far. For instance, one driver on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was trying to make his way to New Jersey, but the GPS had other ideas around 88th Street. The next thing the driver knew, he was no longer driving down a street, but stuck on a set of stairs.

Then there was Sabine Moreau of Brussels, Belgium. She wanted to pick up her friend from the train station, which was just north of her home. The GPS, however, steered her south. She didn’t question the directions she got from the GPS when she saw the signs for the German towns of Frankfurt, Aachen, and Cologne. She had no real doubts that she was following the wrong direction even when she had to refuel twice and get some sleep. It wasn’t until she’d entered Croatia that she’d realized that something had gone horribly awry and later admitted, “I admit it’s a little weird, but I was distracted.” All told, the woman drove around 11 or 12 hours.

What drivers also forget is that sometimes GPS devices do not always account for things like bodies of water. Three Japanese tourists in Australia discovered this when they decided to try and take a trip to North Stradbroke Island, slightly off the coast of Brisbane. Nine miles of water, though, separated the mainland from the island – something which the GPS did not take into account. The tourists didn’t stop when the road turned to gravel and then to thick mud. It wasn’t until water actually started lapping at the tires that they realized they needed to leave the vehicle and that the best way to get to the island was by ferry. The car could not be salvaged as a result of the GPS misdirection.

In the case of the young Kitchener, Ontario woman whose GPS steered her wrong in the early hours of May 13, she has declined all media requests, and while her car has been towed from Lake Huron, there is no word as to whether or not anything – particularly the GPS – is salvageable from the vehicle. While she is, according to police, embarrassed, National Post reports that she escaped with no injuries except perhaps to her pride.

Perhaps, like many of us, the young woman simply trusted her GPS to know where she was going, as Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) of The Office believed.

[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]