Google doesn’t always know best.
Despite warnings to avoid travel after a massive snowstorm that started Christmas weekend closed major highways, thousands of people insisted on trying to drive into or out of the socked-in Sierra Nevada.
Some needed to get home. Some wanted to visit family. Some just wanted to play in the snow.
Some were led astray by poor judgement. And many were led astray by Google Maps, which offered alternate driving routes that sent drivers to snowy dead ends.
Northern California Highway Patrol reported a serious problem on Quincy-La Porte Road, which connects to Highway 70 near Quincy. Locals know Quincy-La Porte Road closes each winter and becomes a haven for snowmobilers.
But Google Maps doesn’t.
When Interstate 80 closed, Google Maps offered up Quincy-La Porte Road as an alternate route. Hundreds of drivers tried that route.
“It shows on the map it will go through, but there’s always a gate closed in the winter,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Danielson, who works out of the Yuba-Sutter office.
The two plows designated for the area got stuck and there were already hundreds of cars up there, Danielson said.
“Those plows even had to get pulled out,” he said. “That’s how bad it was.”
“There were trees fallen across the road, power lines down. Some people just have the mentality, ‘I can get around this.’”
Hundreds of cars piled up on the road over the weekend, eventually driving CHP to post “STOP TRYING TO USE THE…