published : 2023-11-30

Multiple Cars Stranded After Google Maps Leads Them 'Straight into the Desert with No Road'

One Driver's Car Damaged from Driving on a Dirt Road in the Desert, Had to be Towed After Waiting for Hours

A photo of the Mojave Desert captured with a Nikon D850.

Google has issued an apology to travelers who found themselves directed to the Mojave Desert in California instead of their intended route from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

The incident occurred on November 19, when Shelby Easler and her brother followed Google Maps' suggested route to avoid the closure of Interstate 15. Little did they know that this would lead them 'straight into the desert with no road.'

Easler documented the ordeal in a video posted on TikTok, with footage showing multiple cars stranded on a dirt road. All the vehicles, it seemed, had unwittingly followed the same Google Maps directions and met the same fate.

Despite their efforts to navigate through the unforgiving desert terrain, Easler mentioned that their cars were being destroyed, forcing them to travel at an agonizingly slow pace of 2 mph.

A shot of Las Vegas skyline at sunset taken with a Canon EOS R6.

With their vehicles battered and unable to proceed, Easler and the other stranded drivers had no choice but to wait for assistance. However, due to accidents on the freeway, the California Highway Patrol was preoccupied and couldn't reach them in the desert.

Hours ticked by as Easler and the others anxiously anticipated a tow truck that could rescue their damaged cars. The relentless desert sun beat down on them, intensifying the suspense and uncertainty of their situation.

Finally, relief arrived in the form of a tow truck, but the damage had been done. Easler's car, like several others, had suffered significant harm from traversing the treacherous dirt road.

In a statement to FOX Business, a Google spokesperson expressed regret for the mishap and assured that they would no longer route drivers between Las Vegas and Barstow through similar roads.

An image of a tow truck rescuing a stranded vehicle in the desert, captured with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks that can arise when relying solely on technology for navigation, especially in unfamiliar or unpredictable circumstances.

As travelers embarking on holiday journeys, it's crucial to exercise caution and consider using multiple sources of guidance to ensure a safe and trouble-free trip.

Let this incident be a cautionary tale and a reminder to all that sometimes, the most reliable navigation system is good old-fashioned common sense.