Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Newsfeed

Outdated GPS maps in rental cars lure unwitting travellers onto closed roads

By Sara McMahon

  • The rescue unit in Jökuldalur valley, located in the north east of Iceland, has been called out nine times within a year to rescue foreign tourists  Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Rescue units have been called out nine times within a year to rescue foreign tourists who have gotten into difficulties after having blindly followed outdated GPS maps in rental cars.

The rescue unit Jökull in Jökuldalur valley, located in the north east of Iceland, has been called out nine times within a year to rescue foreign tourists who have gotten into difficulties on the old road across Múlinn in Jökuldalur. In all nine cases outdated GPS maps in rental cars unwittingly led the travellers onto the road, which is not cleared of snow during winter.

Sindri Freyr Sigurðsson, head of the Jökull rescue team, urges car rentals to upgrade their GPS equipment seeing that travellers tend to blindly follow the tiny apparatus’s instructions.

“The main reason people end up on the old road is that they are using GPS equipment which contains an outdated map of Iceland. There’s a new road across Múlinn but people keep taking the old one and end up getting stuck,” Sindri explains.

The rescue unit, which counts fifty members, has frequently received emergency calls over the past months due to heavy snows and bad weather within the area they operate.

There are around a hundred rescue units operating all over Iceland. They consist of over three thousand volunteers who are always on standby for emergencies. The units are non-profit and rely solely on public donations, fundraising campaigns and income from selling firework for New Year’s Eve. 

Editor's Picks