​Woops! Now satnav blunders are worldwide news thanks to the internet - Vladimir McTavish

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it is possible to keep up to speed with even the most trivial of stories from back home, no matter where in the world one may be.
An Edinburgh driver found themselves stuck on a notorious set of steps – making them the fourth person get trapped on Greenside Place in a matter of weeks. Photo: Martin McMullenAn Edinburgh driver found themselves stuck on a notorious set of steps – making them the fourth person get trapped on Greenside Place in a matter of weeks. Photo: Martin McMullen
An Edinburgh driver found themselves stuck on a notorious set of steps – making them the fourth person get trapped on Greenside Place in a matter of weeks. Photo: Martin McMullen

​So, although I am in Australia, I am still aware that some idiot managed to drive his van down a set of steps on Greenside Place.

I feel sorry for the poor bloke on two counts. First, because his mistake has been shared around the planet thanks to the world wide web.

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As recently as 20 years ago, he could have got away with this faux-pas only being known by a handful of people. Namely his employers, the customer to whom he was making a delivery and a few random passers-by. Now, it has been broadcast around the globe.

Second, I have sympathy for him because he was directed there by his satnav. Similar things have happened to me in the past.

Driving home from a gig a few years ago, my GPS sent me the wrong way down a one-way street in Hamilton town centre. That would have been OK had I not been flagged down by an off-duty policeman on his way to work.

The guy was clearly very angry at having to do a shift on a Sunday night and claimed that I was drunk, even though I was stone cold sober.

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He phoned in to the local cop shop to get a bobby on the beat to come to the scene to give me breath test.

The breathalyser was broken so the beat copper said, “I tell you what, mate, just breathe in my face”.

I did so, and he said, “You’ve not been drinking. You’re free to go, pal.” After 45 minutes waiting by the roadside.

The worst users of satnav in Edinburgh are undoubtedly tourists driving rental cars.

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You can spot them a mile off, as they are always driving brand new vehicles at 15 miles an hour staring into their GPS screens. Although better that, than the days when they would have been travelling at ten miles an hour trying to navigate their way around with the aid of a paper street map.

Seriously, though, what kind of moron visiting Edinburgh would think they needed to hire a car?

They have clearly not been forewarned of the congestion in the city centre, the mind-bending multi-layered geography of the Old Town or the ridiculously high parking charges in the Capital.

Hiring a car does not enhance a foreign trip. It ruins it.

Some years back, my wife and I shared a holiday in Mallorca with another couple. One of them decided we should rent a car.

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However, being a nervous flyer, he had taken a valium and downed several red wines by the time we landed at Palma airport at ten o’clock at night.

So it fell on me to drive 40 minutes through the mountains in an unfamiliar car, starting off on Spanish motorways and ending up on winding country roads in the pitch dark, until we finally reached our apartment.

By the time we got there, I was a nervous wreck. It took me the entire holiday to de-compress.

Here in Perth, I’m being sensible. I’m using public transport.

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