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SatNav Blamed As Man Drowns

Article by: rob brady
Date: 24 Oct 2012

Satnavs have once again been blamed after a mental health tribunal judge drowned when his wife drove their car into a flooded ford whilst following GPS directions.

Jonathan Gammon, aged 52, drowned along with his pet dog during the incident which saw the vehicle swept more than 100 metres by the water.

Gammon's wife, Priscilla Turner, was driving the car at the time of the incident, but managed to escape from the submerged vehicle. She explained that the water "looked deceptive" and appeared "quite shallow" upon approach - a fact which contributed to the tragedy.

Local residents of Headley, the site of the incident, explained the ford is a constant source of trouble for drivers who are unfamiliar with the area, resulting in regular rescues.

They explained that whilst warning signs are present at the site, satnavs often display the area as an open road without showing the ford, potentially putting drivers at risk.

Taking the recent fatality into account, the local council has suggested permanently sealing the ford to prevent future accidents, although this would cause widespread disruption to local farmers who rely on the pass to gain access to their fields with tractors and heavy machinery.

Source, Source 2

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Posted by DennisN on Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:58 pm Reply with quote

Presumably following the instructions not to inflate his satnav before exiting the vehicle? I guess they need to amend the instructions.

But the unfortunate wife needs an excuse she can live with for the rest of her life - I wouldn't like that sort of thing on my conscience.

As for sealing the ford - has the Council never seen those funny stick shaped things with water depths to say how deep the ford was?


If it tastes good - it's fattening.

Two of them are obesiting!!

Posted by M8TJT on Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:18 pm Reply with quote

But that would be no good either. The sort of people who drive into water regardless would not understand what the sticks were trying to tell them. Typical council though, one stupid person has an accident so let's stop everyone using it just in case another stupid person trys it again in 20 years time. C'mon, 'bout time people did proper risk analysis.

Posted by Privateer on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:00 pm Reply with quote

Condolences to the family.

Unfortunately no matter how shallow or how deep the water is, the water only comes half way up the ducks! Rolling Eyes


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Posted by worried on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:52 pm Reply with quote

how sbout this one http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-19995757

A lifeboat manager has called for improved warning signs at an Essex causeway after 13 people had to be rescued at high tide within 24 hours.

Posted by exportman on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:58 pm Reply with quote

I once drove though a ford in a ford

in Essex too as it happened. It looked just like another big puddle, The warning signs did exits but could not been seen as they were overgrown with foliage it would appear for a long time as I checked google earth a few days later. It had been raining hard the night before and driving along the road there were lots of puddles that covered the whole road Coming around a bend,this just looked like another one only it was 4 ft deep Shocked The stream was in flood. My Mondeo started floating but thankfully had enough momentum to carry it through until the from wheels touched again at which point the engine became flooded and cut out withing a few feet.

Thankfully by that time the water was only about 12" deep so above the sills but not getting into the car. put on Called the aa to say I had been a bit of a nit,put on hold just ans a voice answered I was trying the starter and the engine turned over and caught on a couple of cylinders. Enough to get me out of the water Looked a bit like a steam train from the exhaust but after another few yards a third cylinder started to fire then the fourth. Very lucky it is a petrol and not a diesel Got me far enough to sort it out new air filter and topped up the oil before driving back to Manchester where I dropped the oil and changed everything again. another 20,000 miles and it is still going strong. I was a very lucky bunny Very Happy

Posted by Oldboy on Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:10 am Reply with quote

JaTe Wrote:
... and couldn't see one for 'fords' ...
Landmark - Ford - Water Splash Wink

Maybe not the most obvious place (an original category and placement), and perhaps could be moved. There are over 1600 locations, some for off-roaders, and some need moving for accuracy.


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Posted by Darren on Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:16 am Reply with quote

DennisN Wrote:
As for sealing the ford - has the Council never seen those funny stick shaped things with water depths to say how deep the ford was?

They're present at that ford, as are large warning signs on the approach warning drivers that it floods frequently. And still they drive through!

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by jonbaker12345 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:18 pm Reply with quote

There was a similar story in my local rag last week. The police seemed to think lack of driving instructions from the satnav (such as "Conform to Give Way signs", perhaps?) may have contributed to the death of a 17 year old driver.

From the article....
"" Ian Clark, collision investigator, said Laura, who had only recently passed her test, may have relied heavily on the satellite navigation system she was using.

"In relation to the routes taken earlier in the day, the sat nav would have told them what to do along that stretch of road," he said. "I drove the route using the exact same sat nav and the next place it was telling me to adjust my route was a quarter of a mile further down the road." ""


The photograph of the junction shows the Give Way sign that the driver didn't obey. Hardly the sat nav's fault. Confused

Posted by Darren on Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:23 pm Reply with quote

All these stories fail to reinforce the message that the satnav is an aid only. It's not meant to replace your eyeballs and common sense.

I have a relative who we were following once, she drove straight across a junction at a cross roads, didn't brake or even give way. When we reached our destination I spoke to her and she said, without any hesitation "the sat-nav didn't mention the junction".

She's very lucky not to have met a car crossing on the priority road. Idiots like that ought not to be driving for all our sakes.

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by mike37 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:59 pm Reply with quote

The Headley Ford is today reported in my local news as permanently closed as of yesterday so a map update for my Tom Tom is on it's way to them.


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Posted by jdg_32uk on Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:26 pm Reply with quote

I believe anyone that abdicates their responsibility to their sat nav deserves all they get, sorry if that sounds harsh but navigation devices are a advisory guide not an absolute to follow blindly without question, it's the law of natural selection, my sympathies lie with those that have to clean up the mess these idiots leave behind.

These idiots that do things like that give navigation a bad name and cause people that think about what they are doing behind the wheel a huge problem when they screw up and drive through floods or roads that are obviously too narrow for their type of vehicle so on and so on. I dare say I will get some comments from this. Evil or Very Mad

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