Global positioning systems and apps that use them, like Waze, are superb things that help us get around, offering real-time perspectives on traffic and other hazards. They are, however, far from perfect, especially in rapidly changing conditions. Most people, however, trust the app explicitly, so the Los Angeles Police Department is finding itself warning people not to pull a frickin’ Michael Scott and drive straight into a Dante-esque vision of hell.
The problem, as the Los Angeles Times explains, is quite simple. Waze and other apps track traffic density on various roads, and since most people have the common sense to not drive into a wildfire, those apps are telling drivers to go on those mysteriously empty roads:
The Los Angeles Police Department asked drivers to avoid navigation apps, which are steering users onto more open routes — in this case, streets in the neighborhoods that are on fire. Following officers’ directions and obeying the roadblocks “will help us, and it will help L.A. City Fire,” said LAPD Cmdr. Blake Chow.
Commander Chow, whatever you’re paid to have to explain to your fellow citizens to not drive into a fire, it’s probably not enough. Anyway, if you live in LA and are reading this: Don’t drive into a fire, for the love of Angelyne. Don’t even drive down a road where there might be a risk of there being a fire! People may tell you in the arguments you get into on Facebook that they hope you die in a fire, but they do not actually mean it. Well, we hope, anyway.
A good way to avoid driving into a fire is to download the best app to help you not burn to death in your car, the state’s QuickMap, which is designed to help you double check your routes and ensure you don’t hit roadblocks, fall afoul of fire prevention operations, or, most importantly, get roasted in your car like a pork roast in an oven. Beyond that, be aware of where the fires are, and be suspicious of empty roads that should be full. Really that’s just a good policy for life, especially in LA.
(via The New York Times)