If you have a driver’s license, chances are that you also have an amusing story about GPS directions.
Here’s mine: A few weeks ago, my family and I were driving from Cayucos, Calif., to Prescott, Ariz., when I noticed that the needle on the fuel gauge was pointing to “empty.” Not a problem, I thought. There must be plenty of service stations between here and Bakersfield.
We’d entrusted our route to the Google Maps app on my iPhone; it had never steered us wrong. The program assured me that yes, the winding road between Santa Maria and Interstate 5 was the fastest, most direct route to our destination. It even showed me the gas stations along the way: a Texaco, an Exxon and a Chevron.
Wrong on all counts.
Our “direct” route took us on a narrow two-lane road through Central California’s hill country, a sparsely populated part of the Golden State. By the time we reached the promised location of the first gas station, the “E” light was glaring at me from the dashboard and we were running on fumes. But the station was nowhere to be found. That was about when we noticed the refineries and realized that our helpful app couldn’t tell the difference between a gas station and a fuel processing plant.