Google Maps is normally designed to help you avoid traffic jams, among other things. But due to a bug, the app recently caused a traffic jam that was several kilometers long. The background.

Nowadays, many drivers rely on Google Maps when they are in an unfamiliar region. The road atlas that was present in almost every car just a few years ago has been replaced by small technical helpers.

This is particularly useful if you have to navigate through a region you are not familiar with. The navigation app knows every turnoff and can even show traffic jams or closed roads – if everything is working correctly. In Italy, a Google Maps error recently led to a traffic jam that was several kilometers long.

Traffic jam due to error in Google Maps

Navigating with the help of Google Maps can be quite useful. But as a traffic jam in Italy near the Austrian border has now shown, it can also backfire.

Because here Google had shown a part of the motorway as closed, as the Swiss newspaper 20 minutes reported. As a result, many drivers left the motorway and continued their journey on the country road.

But here it was almost impossible to drive because of the high volume of traffic. Thanks to an error on Google Maps, the roads in the Eisack Valley were completely overloaded.

What was particularly annoying about the whole thing was that the motorway wasn't closed at all. The display was faulty due to a problem on the Google server and predicted a higher volume of traffic than actually occurred.

The error is already known in the region

For the residents, however, this is nothing new. “For years, traffic has been increasing every weekend, because as soon as a small traffic jam forms on the motorway, the navigation devices tell you to leave the motorway,” explains Sterzing's deputy mayor Fabio Cola to 20 minutes.

As a result, the country road and all side streets are completely blocked. But this is not only annoying for the residents, Cola also sees this as a risk from a disaster management perspective, as no emergency vehicles can get through the streets anymore.

The local authorities have already reported the problem, which has been going on for some time, to Google. However, this is not so easy, as an employee of the transport company explains. “We reported the problem to Google via the app because there were no phone numbers,” he complained to 20 minutes.

Warning signs have already been installed on site. Dozens of transport company employees have also warned drivers at a sign in Sterzing that it is not necessary to exit the motorway.

But all these precautionary measures were of no use. Despite this, thousands of cars got lost on the far too narrow country roads of the Eisack Valley.

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