Italian Town Bans Google Maps After Bad Directions Lead to 144 Rescue Missions (Video)
An Italian town has posted signs banning the use of Google Maps after “too many” people have gotten lost while following the app’s directions.
“Too many sedans and small cars get stuck on impassable paths, sometimes even off-road vehicles too,” Salvatore Corrias, the mayor of Baunei, told the Ansa news agency. “All this because you follow the suggestions of Google Maps which, on our roads, are often misleading.”
The town of Baunei is located on the island of Sardinia and is known for its rugged seaside mountain landscapes. But when visitors follow Google Maps' directions as they drive through, they could quickly find themselves driving their car up a narrow, pedestrian-only, hiking path and with no way of turning around.
The latest incident involved a couple on vacation who had to be rescued by emergency services after their Porsche sedan was stuck on a rough mountain road.
Rescue efforts are not only expensive for the town, but also for the travelers who are responsible for any damage done to their vehicles. In the last two years, Corrias said there have been 144 rescue missions.
To rectify the issue, the town began placing signs alongside roads that read, "Do not follow the directions of Google Maps.” The town is also trying to correct the issue at the source, knowing that some out-of-towners may still miss the signs.
“We contacted Google to intervene, correcting the indications that give the green light to enter improbable roads,” Corrias told Ansa. “They replied that they would verify, but we still haven't seen anything concrete.”
A spokesperson for Google told Travel + Leisure they're looking to resolve the issue.
"We're aware of an issue in Sardinia where Google Maps is routing some drivers down roads that can be difficult to navigate due to their terrain. We're currently working with the local government to resolve the issue, and are investigating ways we can better alert drivers about these types of roads."
Baunei is not the only town in Italy where Google Maps can lead drivers astray. The app may tell travelers to drive their cars along the canals of Venice, where all vehicles are banned. The incidents have caused chaos in the beloved city, with pedestrians almost getting hit along the Grand Canal.