Some People are Sheep – Some People are Lemmings

Of course you aren’t moved by the crowd. You’re intelligent and reading my blog.

IMG_0722Have you ever been in this situation? You’re out on a Saturday evening and you’ve decided to go out for dinner. You walk past a few restaurants you spy a couple of menu’s that look good. One restaurant is very busy, the other almost empty. You go into the busy restaurant thinking “they must know something I don’t.” The meal turns out to be decidedly average and you think to yourself, “maybe they didn’t know anything after all. I’m not going back there again.”

Last week I wrote a blog on Scoopt curating an article

GPS Reliance Gets Trucks Stuck, and Vermont is Fed Up | Transport Topics Online

It was about trucks that use GPS that takes them onto roads that aren’t suitable for trucks. The GPS units they were using were not suitable for trucks, i.e. they did not have information about heavy, long and wide vehicles. They then frequently get stuck on rural roads with expensive consequences.

I thought it was a shame that there wasn’t GPS suitable for trucks which have different attributes, like height, width and length. One of my faithful blog readers came to the rescue. He pointed out that there are in fact a number of brands of GPS navigation and Fleet Management that have appropriate information available for trucks. Perhaps the key is that the truck companies or drivers aren’t using them because they cost more, or not using them effectively.

Fleet Management systems know where problem areas are and despatchers avoid them when they are doing their route planning and optimization, but that doesn’t mean drivers get an alert or warning if they deviate from them or may ignore them thinking they know better, or that they are making the smartest decision based on needing to be somewhere in a hurry. Brands including HERE, Navman Wireless, International Telematics and eRoad have attributes that would tell the users that certain roads are not suitable for some or all trucks.

Navman TruckSo here are a couple of options they could use (not available in every country). Navman has MyTruckII, which includes all the detail needed to avoid incidents like this, as does Garmin on their truck product called Dezl. They have specific alerts to ensure that truck drivers don’t drive up the wrong track. This would support both route planning and warnings on route, like these graphics:Garmin Warnings.JPG

So recently there was a serious crash. Huge gantry Visual Message Signs right across the motorway were used to tell all drivers that the major highway was closed and instructing the official detour route for vehicles of all types. Some people either ignored the giant signs overhanging the motorway or were distracted and missed them. The motorway ahead remained open for people traveling to destinations before the crash site. Police had to attend and turn around a continuous sheep-like convoy of vehicles that had not followed instructions, who then had a long journey back to the official detour.

A truck driver appears to have managed to slip the net and went on their own detour, which was similar to the one in the story above at Smugglers Notch, where incidentally they will get fined if they are caught.

Like the story above, the truck went up the unpaved and unsuitable road and jack-knifed, blocking the road in both directions. To make it worse, half a dozen other trucks also decided to do the same thing and found themselves stuck behind the jack-knifed truck for a number of hours when the official detour might have only added 15-20 minutes to their journey. This blocked the road for vehicles that were suitable for the road and incurred significant costs in helping the distressed vehicles off the road and back to where they should have gone in the first place.

So here’s my question. Are you smart and follow instructions by the authorities whose job it is to give you the information that will help you to get to you destination, are you a sheep who thinks “if it works for them it will work for me, I will follow them”, or are you a lemming, or should I call it a sheep-lemming and will blindly follow people as they jump off the cliff?

Then just 3 days later in Sydney a Coles Driver does the same and blames his GPS. You can find it on Twitter by searching for #TheGPSMadeMeDoIt or go to



About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
This entry was posted in #TheGPSMadeMeDoIt, bad gps, Best GPS, GPS Car Nav, GPS Excuses, GPS features, GPS Navigation, traffic, Traffic jam, Truck GPS and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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