Google Maps Sends Vehicles into Remote Desert Area from Las Vegas

On November 30, 2023, Shelby Easler and her family encountered an unexpected situation while driving home from the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix. Their Google Maps app notified them of an impending dust storm along their planned route and suggested an alternate desert road that would save them time.

Trusting the app’s direction, Easler’s brother followed the alternate route, only to find himself on a single-lane off-roading path behind a long line of cars also following Google Maps. Despite the expectation of reaching a road after three miles, the path led to a dead end, causing a buildup of trapped vehicles.

Even after attempting to call 911 for help, the California Highway Patrol was unable to aid them due to ongoing freeway closures and accidents. With no assistance, the trapped drivers eventually had to maneuver their vehicles one by one through rough terrain to turn around. The ordeal resulted in punctured tires, ruined alignment, and even the abandonment of Easler’s family SUV, which required towing back to Las Vegas.

Google issued an apology for the incident, confirming that they will no longer route drivers down the narrow backroads near the California-Nevada border. The company’s response came after the incident gained attention on social media and was covered by news outlets like the Washington Post.

@LasVegasLocally shared Easler’s TikTok video on Twitter, humorously cautioning others to be suspicious if Google Maps directs them to the Mojave Desert, suggesting that it might be a ploy by AI to take them out.