Original URL: https://www.theregister.com/2007/05/11/satnav_crash/
Satnav driver's car totalled by train
Stops on level crossing, the rest is history
A 20-year-old student had a narrow escape when her satnav directed her to drive onto a remote level crossing, resulting in the unplanned destruction of the car by a train.
According to the BBC, Paula Ceely had borrowed her boyf's satnav for a trip from Redditch, Worcestershire, to Carmarthenshire. She recounted: "Obviously I had never done the journey before so I was using the satnav - completely dependent on it. I came to this crossing at Ffynongain and there was like a metal gate, which looked like just a normal farmers' gate with a red circle on it. I thought it was a dead end at first and then there was a little sign saying, if the light is green, open the gates and drive through.
"So I opened the gate, drove forward, closed the gate behind me and then went to go and open the gate in front of me. Then I heard this train and I noticed there was train tracks. It was only then that I did realise I was on a train crossing. I just stood back and I just watched this train come in front of me. I could feel the air just pass me and then my car just did a 360 degree turn on the tracks and was knocked to the other side."
The impact of the Pembroke Dock to Swansea train carried Ceely's Renault Clio for half a mile down the track, and put a pretty dent in her no-claims bonus. The exasperated satnav rookie added: "I put my complete trust in the satnav and it led me right into the path of a speeding train. The crossing wasn't shown on the satnav, there were no signs at all, and it wasn't lit up to warn of an oncoming train."
Celly did, however, accept some liability for the smash. She conceded: "I can't completely blame the sat nav because up until there, it did get me where I needed to go. If maybe I had been more aware of the situation, I wouldn't have had the accident."
In conclusion, Celly offered: "I'll never use a sat nav again. You rely on them and if it all goes wrong, you're horribly stuck. People should be more careful with them - you never know where they might lead you." ®
Thanks to all those readers who emailed to point out this possible future nominee for a Darwin Award.