So I Think My GPS is Trying to Kill Me

He may look innocent, but he's not.

I’m kind of in love with my GPS. When I was working as a reporter on the Isle of Long, driving down backroads to find fires, murders, and government officials getting DUIs, it always got me where I needed to go. But recently, I think it may have turned on me.

It always had its little quirks. Like it takes a really long time to find a signal. And it goes to night vision pretty early in the day. But in the past few months, it’s begun to turn on by itself (without being plugged in) and start talking to me. What’s more, when this happens, the GPS usually begins giving me directions to a place I did not program in, and no matter where I am, that place is always at least 2 hours away. What other conclusion is there? My GPS is definitely trying to kill me.

I rack my brain trying to figure out why my GPS would want me dead, so much so it makes me think of that part in Forgetting Sarah Marshall where Russell Brand is all like “how can a mobile phone have its own agenda?” Well it can, and it will. I’m thinking this all stems back to when we first got the GPS, and we programmed it to the male American voice, “Richard.” My dad hated it so much, by the end of the car ride he was loudly referring to the GPS as “Dick” (well played, Denny). We went through several other voices (like the British female which dad liked too, too much) until we landed on male British voice, “Tim.” I love Tim, in a totally not-creepy, “I know he’s electronic” way. But I feel, I really do, that Richard, his ego bruised and beaten, is somehow trying to enact his revenge by getting me to a desolate destination and off-ing me. It’s a very real fear.

So, if you’re expecting me anytime soon and I don’t show, call the police immediately. Tell them the tale. They’ll believe you, I’m sure. This can’t be the first time something like this has happened.


Filed under WORST Things Ever

90 responses to “So I Think My GPS is Trying to Kill Me

  1. Denny

    BTB5 = (be there by 5) & I “will” get him (& Dick)

  2. Conor Odonoghue

    Remember the GPS is a gadget it can tell you how to get to France from the UK but it expects you to get a ferry πŸ˜‰

  3. Great post! I wrote a story about something very similar last Spring bc the GPS took us across this scary bridge onto a dirt road!

  4. hehe. Love The Office. Perhaps you are not talking kindly to your GPS? That makes a difference.

  5. lol…great post. I love my GPS too…but…it can be a real b_ _ tch sometimes. It can be really rude when giving directions. Oh, and if I miss a turn and she’s all “Recalculating” it just sounds rude. It’s a love hate relationship.

    • Crystal Cranmore

      lol I agree, my sister and I always get a laugh when it starts to yell, “turn around”. We call her Garmin. lol

  6. Lost in France

    There are always stories of people who have blind faith in their GPS and then get stuck in a truck at the top of a mountain.

    Must admit could not live without mine. Can not remember the last time I had an atlas in the car.

    Gets me remembering things from Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. And what happens when you start giving machines personalities.

  7. mia1984

    okay… now this is getting very scary. because last time checked, car manufacturer are developing cars that drive on their own (without a human driver, just passengers). you just tell the car where you want to go and it drives on it’s own (i’m assuming it works on GPS).

    just sayin’!

  8. Pranav Garg

    If that’s so, you’ll definitely love the Indian Movie name Robot. It’s being dubbed into English.

    Pranav Garg,

  9. My friend has a GPS and it’s constantly taking her the wrong way. Once, according too her, it wanted her to drive the wrong way on a one way street.

  10. I love our GPS (and we do use Richard’s voice)–but I’ve often thought that GPS-gone-evil would make a great horror movie.

    Good luck outwitting your devious device!

  11. Yip. It’s definitely trying to kill ya. πŸ˜‰

    Best of luck. Sounds like you’ll need it…

  12. Kim Pugliano

    LOL – As always.

  13. Kelly Hay

    Tim should really have it out with Richard and let him know who’s the boss of the GPS! πŸ™‚

  14. oh my god I thought it was GP Dr Shipman all over again…sorry GPS…Maps are less malevolent and they keep quiet….

  15. This could potentialy be a sign that humans have created technology that is too good, that will outsmart humanity and could quite possibly take over.

    It’s not robots we have to worry about, it’s our SatNavs first!

  16. It's just a web site man!

    “I am sorry Dave. I can’t do that right now.” πŸ™‚

  17. You’re not the only one. My GPS certainly has a mind of its own!
    And that clip from the Office–priceless! πŸ˜‰ Good luck getting where you need to go….

  18. My GPS gives me directions, I follow them, then mid-route it shouts “recalculating” and gives me the same directions again.

    It also turns on in my purse now, which really creeps me out.

  19. Sooo funny! My dad likes the British Lady also! I am only 7, but when I learn to drive….if the cars don’t drive themselves by then…..I will use her too.

  20. It sounds scarery! I Feel lucky not have such experience.

  21. i feel the same resentment toward my evil navi. you’re not alone.

  22. My GPS (nickname: Beatrice) is in desperate need of an “avoid ghetto” option. If I am within a 10-mile radius of a less-than-friendly part of the city, Beatrice will lead me there without warning. She is particularly fond of drug corners, especially at night.

    Another one of her more notable quirks is how much she adores Manhattan. If I’m trying to get to any of the boroughs or, let’s be honest, anywhere in North Jersey, she thinks it best to take a scenic tour through the Lincoln or Holland tunnel.

    It’s always an adventure.

  23. Fantastic post!!

    I once had a test vehicle with a built-in navigation system that continually told me to pull illegal U-turns and turn up one-way streets. I thought about pulling the moves and later trying to explain that my GPS told me to do it, therefore I had to … but then thought better of it. I wonder if Dick has a mischevious little brother out there somewhere?

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    Drive on,
    – M.

  24. Hilarious. Join the club. I wrote a post called “My GPS Has a different Accent Than Yours,” in which I detailed all the sinister things my GPS does, including ignoring me when she gets pissed off.

  25. What do you do for a living? It’s maybe that some is secretly controlling your GPS from MI5 headquarters, and trying to set you up for something – this would make a great conspiracy story.

    Dam you can write a book around this.

  26. Well, you’ll just have to trust Tim, wont you. He’ll have to battle Richard for you, within the machine. Intense.

    Personally, I use the allmighty Mapquest. Stupid, frustrating, sends you the long way and miscalculates the time to your destination, but…I don’t think it’s trying to kill me.

  27. There have been many cases of Murder by GPS –

    and we all giggle a little when we see the stories pop up in the news almost weekly (silly drivers!), but how many of them are intentional and malicious acts by TomTom, Helga or Garmin?

    Stay alert, GPS owners…

  28. LOL, love your post! Personally, I don’t believe in the GPS. I prefer using Mapquest or asking for directions to where I’m going. The main reason? Every time a friend of mine uses their GPS, it gives them directions that use the longest way possible, and/or takes them through country roads and other odd places to get to the end location. I don’t get it!

  29. ryoko861

    I love “Carmon the Garmin”! But recently it detoured me in a totally different direction. Usually when I visit my friend in south Jersey, it takes me in a certain direction, which I’m used to. Last time, it took me in a totally different direction and it screwed me up completely! Leaving as well, in the dark no less, was confusing. I can’t tell you why it had me go a different way. I’m having second thoughts about “Carmon”.
    Maybe there’s a satellite failure?

  30. I couldn’t find the power cord for our GPS last night, as Zohrhubby was preparing for a trip to New Orleans, a place he drove to no less than 3,000 times PRIOR to the invention of the GPS, but now, all of a sudden, he can’t drive there without it, and my lack of organization is going to inconvenience him by making him call upon these now-defunct navigational skills.

    (Oh, hell. I’m just being bitchy and defensive…I won’t go out of town without it either!)

  31. Audrey Marks

    My aunt has a Garmin she calls Judy, as in Judy Garland.

  32. That is why I don’t like little machines. They all are filled with muckery I tell you. I enjoyed your silly take on things. πŸ™‚



    Congrats Tim on your Freshly Pressed highlight

    • You can’t trust them because they have no loyalties. Sure, they’re supposed to help you but they can’t really love you and that’s what is truly important.

      I’m sorry that this electronic device is trying to kill you but, it could be worse. At least a family member or loved one isn’t trying to harm you… at least not until that GPS turns them.

  33. Great blog. Although I hate to tell Maureen Dr. Who already did the evil-GPS-kills-people storyline. It was good.

  34. Crystal Cranmore

    My GPS can become very useful at times, when it chooses to be nice. I am in the field of journalism as well and I do a lot of freelance work. It has helped get me to a lot of my stories.

  35. Sam

    I literally punched our GPS in the face one time. Knocked it off its little platform on the dashboard. It’s horrible in Chicago, it can’t ever tell what street we’re on. I hate it.

  36. Kim Pugliano

    Freshly Pressed again?! You rock.

  37. I prefer printed material and I am very good with a map. The problem with maps are that in heavy traffic you need someone to read the map directions to you and after dark you need a flashlight. So, the GPS are great in traffice and at night, but that said, I don’t have one. I’ve been thinking about buying one, but I was laid off from my engineering job 2 years ago and can’t get another – so I’m working at a lowly paid office job and can’t affor the GPS now. Sigh. Back to the maps. What are you going to do when the world is hit with a sunspot caused emt blast or something and the electronics don’t work? he, heh

  38. It was probably programmed with GLaDOS.

  39. Yeah, I got that attitude from my old GPS. It tried to tell me that I was driving on the water of a reservoir (which was about 50 feet to our right), and that I needed to move about 100 feet to the right. Glad I didn’t listen.

  40. Shay

    You have a great writing style! And sometimes I think my GPS is crazy because it told me to make a U-turn. INTO A LAKE. It also told me that the nearest Nordstrom was in City of Industry or something.

  41. I think, there’s a conspiracy. See, I bought this GPS last year. And when the year’s up, a message popped up to ask me to subscribe to updates. OK, how many new streets do you think the government budgeted to build in a year? So I turned it down. And that’s when the GPS started been uncooperative.

    Has it happened to you?

  42. LOL completely rational. My husband calls his Nooby (he’s a bit hearing impaired and ours is a Garmin Nuvi…go figure. He can read, just can’t sound it out I guess…). I agree with the bitchy “recalculating”. What she’s really saying is – look, biatch, you should’ve followed me the first time and I don’t have time for this shite.

  43. That’s hysterical!!!
    You write really well – obviously as you are a reporter…
    This reminds me of trips I have made to London. No one there knows how to get anywhere without the tube (underground). I remember asking people for directions to places and they couldn’t tell me if it was north or south, east or west, all they could tell me is that if I took the tube… This is really weird to me as I love maps. As soon as I am some place new I need to know my geographical location by finding a map of the place. Sort of helps me get a feel for where I am. Either that or someone implanted a GPS in my mind and now I am it’s slave endlessly looking for references to establish an accurate location…

  44. mairebran

    Mine tried to get me to make a “legal” U-turn on a one way street…. ONTO ON COMING TRAFFIC!?!?!? So I told it that if it didn’t start playing nice it would go to the freezer where the bad gizmos go.

  45. ah, definitely on the fritz… my gps once decided, as I was on a nine-hour drive across the country, to make a bridge that was on the itinerary “disappear.” I’m not sure the bridge was ever really there in the first place, but needless to say, I stopped trusting the gps then and there.

  46. LOL, you really had me laughing! Great post! Very well done!

  47. everythingneat

    Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed!
    I have a pretty good sense of direction and have learned that a GPS is not always accurate. I’m sure Richard tried and I hope Tim is serving you well.
    One time we went about an hour out of our way driving around the countryside in Japan. I was simply a guest and knew where we needed to turn but didn’t feel that it would be polite to say anything. Who wants to argue with a machine let alone a delightful host who barely spoke my language.
    My daughter and her husband used a GPS in Ireland recently and could have driven off two bridges if they didn’t have their wits about them.
    My favorite experience was in France last year. My friend lives there and was driving us around in his own stomping grounds. He really didn’t need a GPS but insisted on using it. Secretly, I think he just liked her sexy, husky voice….almost like a singer in a smoke-filled lounge.

  48. Elizabeth Swigar

    This is hilarious. I actually have my GPS set to “Richard.” I won’t change it… don’t want him to try to kill me!

    Thanks for the post, it made me laugh out loud.

  49. Very funny!!! I loved your sense of humor! What caught my eye was your title, because as soon as I read it, I thought to myself: that’s exactly what my GPS tried to do to me!!! We were in the Cinque Terre in Italy trying to find a sanctuary. The GPS gave us directions to go on a tiny road with a giant red “do not enter” sign posted. When we drove past the sign thinking that that could not possibly be the right road, it told us to to “turn around whenever possible”. When we did as we were told, it once again told us to take this road. So…stupid us, we followed the directions thinking that it must be the driveway or something. The entire time we were hoping a car wouldn’t come screaming down the other way. But when GPS told us to take an even narrower dirt road, hugging a cliff the entire time, we decided that GPS was out to kill us and we weren’t going to comply!!! We got out of the mess it had gotten us into, and with shaking nerves, made our way back to the autostrada to start all over again. It finally figured itself out, but who knows what would have happened to us if we had continued on the original GPS track!!!

  50. My GPS wasn’t trying to kill me. It was trying to get me lost. There were times that it wouldn’t connect with a signal and I couldn’t even get lost.

  51. Haha, love it! And of course it has an agender, most electronic items do. They’re evil, all of them.

  52. BeneathTheSpinLight

    My GPS tried to get me to take a left into a wall in the middle of a tunnel. I was not amused. My passenger was amused when I shouted, “THOMAS, THERE IS NO LEFT TURN HERE!”

    That being said, I do love my Tom.

  53. Sunflowerdiva

    I was riding with a friend and we were driving to a pool party out in the middle of nowhere, so she put on her GPS, brought printed instructions from Google Earth Maps, and handed me a huge travel atlas. We decided to use the directions from Google, but because the GPS was on and we weren’t following it, it started getting agitated and kept beeping and telling us we were going the wrong way. It was funny at first, but after a while it got really irritating. Then my friend realized that she could mute it–so from then on we ignored the flashing GPS and drove using printed instructions. Frankly, I don’t completely trust those electronic devices. Their voices scare me.

  54. I think yours might need to be takin’ out Office Space style.

    Theres enough out there trying to kill us without the beginning of Terminator stemming from your gps.

  55. One funny thing about most tech is that they ofter turn around and start using us, instead of us using them. This sounds philosophical but it is the reality

  56. Never had one of those things. But should I get one, I will also remember to always have a towel handy.

  57. A few weeks back I was going to a British car show out in the Virginia countryside. You know, mostly fancy British sports cars and other British vehicles. I was driving a 1967 Land Rover. Four wheel drive, spare tire on the bonnet, all of that. I had just gotten a new smart phone with a built-in GPS. I can read a map, but I figured I would let the GPS tell me how to get there. Well, it took me down a dirt road, nice ruts, stones.. Perfect for a Land Rover..

    How did it know?

  58. I use Richard for my TomTom voice, too. My boyfriend HATES Richard but refuses to say why. Perhaps Richard is trying to kill us all.

  59. Haha! How funny.

    Here’s my take: It’s a conspiracy. You need to dump your GPS before the Feds use to take you to them. It turns out that you’re wanted for questioning, and instead of going to you, they’re being lazy and trying to get you to come to them.


    LOL. Okay, so it’s probably just a technological goof up.

    Your life could be that exciting though, right? Hehe

  60. The voice I use on my GPS is called “Hal”. For a while, Hal’s soothing yet authoritative voice filled me with a sense of safety and calm, and I enjoyed his company and he, mine. There was a palpable trust between us.

    Then, one day, in the middle of Hal guiding me through a quick succession of turns and nearing turns, my summer jam came on the radio and I politely requested that Hal lower his volume. Instead of accommodating me, Hal turned his volume all the way up and began to sing his own song — “Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer truuuuue…”

    I thought Hal was just being playful. That is, until he independently shut off my air supply. That’s right… AC all the way off. That’s when I got scared… and rolled the window down. Things haven’t been the same ever since.

  61. oh my goodness this is hilarious. i must say the gps voice we had was susan earlier that evening when we were using the GPS i was somewhat yelling at susan …later on that evening she took via a dangerous route where we encountered no cars whatsoever. i had to apologize to susan several times before she took us a more “safer” route.

  62. This entry = bad day cure! Too funny! πŸ™‚

  63. I nickname my GPS, “suicide Garmin”, because sometimes when you’re on the highway, the GPS will suddenly think you’re on the local road right below you. So, even though you’re on the highway, my GPS would tell you to turn left or right. You look right and there’s a barrier wall. On the left is the highway’s railing divider.

    So, it’s lovely when my GPS offers two choices and neither of them are appealing when you’re on the right route.

    πŸ˜€ You just have to deal with it….sometimes… Even if you have the urge to make the GPS suicide itself.

  64. shoxnzshoe

    A interesting post
    I always think GPS is useless!

  65. marlowesnymph

    This is absolutely hilarious. I too chose ‘Tim’ on my TomTom and fell in love. In fact, when my fiance and I took a roadtrip to Portland and used it to get around, we started lovingly referring to the machine in general as our ‘TimTim’ instead. I’d watch out for Richard, I think too many people are tossing him aside and opting for his British counterpart.

    P.S. Love The Office reference. The second I read the title, my mind went to that episode.

  66. That sounds scary. But I hear things like that are happening more and more often.

    Thankfully when I was using gps (via VZ Navigator), it always took me exactly where I wanted to go with no problem.

    The only place it didn’t work was West Virginia. I guess that was its way in telling me, “You don’t need to be in West Virginia!”

  67. Pingback: GPS, ce tueur innocent… (So I Think My GPS is Trying to Kill Me (via NoMad Blogger)) Β« Les observations de Lisa

  68. So I’m right in not having a GPS, directionally dislexic or not. I knew it! Now maybe my family will get off my back about it…it’s a killer!! *maniacal laughter*

  69. hahahah. Good one.

    My husband is my GPS – even when I don’t want his services. At least you can get yours to shut up.
    Cheers πŸ™‚

  70. adebond

    One word for you……..Skynet.

  71. You never tell us the make & model of your GPS or how old it is. I definitely want to avoid getting the demoniacally possessed contraption.

    I do love my smartphone’s Google Maps app. Although it’s never shown the urge to do me ill will, it has unnerved me with its stalker like tendencies — turning on when it feels like it and suggesting places where the two of us can grab a coffee all alone. Worse than my high school girlfriend.

  72. Rindo

    Heh heh heh. I haven’t tried GPS yet, but I too feel that, sometimes, Google Maps doesn’t really like me.

    Like the time we were touring around in Goa, India. Google Maps insisted we were three miles off the coast, no matter where we asked for directions.

    My friends don’t trust me, or my phone, any more.

  73. I know precisely what you mean. I personally hate GPSs because as a kid my parents gave me an atlas to keep me entertained on family trips. So I know maps. I like maps. I feel I can find where I need to go without a computerized telling me where to turn. My wife on the other hand loves her GPS. When we first got the thing she plugged it in right away and I berated it the whole way home. Of course when I was running out the door for a fire/murder/councilman DUI, she insisted I take it. The stupid thing led me to a field in the middle of nowhere. It knows the score and it’s doing its darndest to settle it.

  74. You know, we watch those movies where the computers rise up and take over and we believe they’re fiction. Maybe they’re more prophetic than we even know.
    It may be time to relieve Tim of his current occupation and get a new navigator. As long as he can’t walk himself, you shouldn’t be in danger of being followed if you leave him behind – say on that remote road where he keeps wanting to take you.
    Great Post!

  75. Jean

    I have my own GPS, it’s called my mother. She is 83 years old and has given up driving so it has become necessary to take her where she needs to go. About a mile before any exit off a highway she starts hollering from the back seat, “you’re going to miss the exit, you’re going to miss the exit”. If you don’t acknowledge her she wacks you on the back of your head. This weekend I took her to Boston with me. She has never been to Boston yet from the back seat, she was telling me where to turn, where to stop and how far we were away from our destination. But for all of her backseat antics, I have never felt unsafe, lost but never unsafe. Kel, you know who I’m talking about.

  76. This is hilarious. Perhaps you should just apologize to Dick and take him back? You basically outsourced your GPS to the British. Perhaps Dick is xenophobic? I say for your safety (and those driving with you), you should only travel American. No more British GPS accents.

  77. I dunno. If your GPS were trying to kill you, I think it would tell you to get into the car with Charlie Sheen (or if it’s an older model, Billy Joel). To me it sounds more like your GPS is trying to inconvenience you. Which I can totally relate to. Once, my GPS told me to get off of a toll road, which required my paying the toll. It then told me to make a U-turn, pay the toll again, and get back on the road.

  78. snoringdogstudio

    Avymandias: Hilarious! Stuck in a car with Charlie Sheen and having to program in all the area’s rehab centers — what a lousy road trip that would be!

  79. My GPS started doing some random things as well. She probably didn’t like how I spoke to her even though I added love in our earlier days. Then one day she gave me the finger and shot me a deadly error screen. I guess I didn’t mount her properly.

  80. my GPS yells at me and turns it self off and back on for a few seconds to take a little timeout…

  81. Amazing post. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. Theο»Ώ machine KNOWS!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  82. I think your GPS is the first machine to truly test the Turing Test – not only do you treat it’s messages as if coming from a knowledgeable person giving directions but the GPS’s attempt to kill you may demonstrate it has become self-aware.

    Oddly enough, this sounds like a much more lame version of Terminator 2. Humanity dies when our GPS’s become self-aware and let us drive ourselves unknowingly off cliffs.

  83. Nice one. I usually put my GPS on on-off mode depending on its cranky instructions. I would rather rely on road signs and google maps.

  84. *Artificial_Angel*

    My GPS once told me to turn to connect with the highway. There was a giant brick wall where it told me to turn. Even if it hadn’t been there, it would have still been the oposite side of the road; was telling me to drive into incoming traffic of the oposite lane!!
    I drove on, of course, and seconds later, it redirected me into the correct path- but I will always remember that wall….

  85. Only i know how many times my GPS tried to make me drive into a ditch.
    I must be really lucky i didn’t. Yet.

  86. Pingback: NoMad Blog: The Top Posts of 2010 « NoMad Blogger

  87. Admirable post! It’s brilliant what you can learn these days just by looking around the internet.

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