Google Maps Apologizes After Dangerous Desert Detour Leaves Drivers Stranded

Families traveling from Las Vegas to Los Angeles were led astray by Google Maps, prompting an apology from the tech giant.

Google Maps has issued an apology after several drivers using the application were directed onto a treacherous desert road during a dust storm in the Mojave Desert. The incident, which occurred on November 19, left a dozen-odd cars stranded in a dangerous area between Nevada and southern California. The detour was suggested as an alternative route to save time and avoid a dust storm, but instead led drivers down a dreadful dirt path. One of the individuals stuck in the desert uploaded a video on TikTok, garnering millions of views and prompting a response from Google.

A Misguided Route Leads to Chaos

Instead of taking the Interstate 15 highway, the recommended route for the journey from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Google Maps redirected drivers onto a remote desert road. Families, including Shelby Easler’s, decided to follow the suggested route, believing it would help them avoid the dust storm and save time. Little did they know, they were being led astray.

A Harrowing Ordeal Unfolds

As the cars continued down the dirt path, it became clear that they were going nowhere. The lack of visibility due to the dust storm made matters worse. “We thought we were avoiding a dust storm. We thought it’d be a little bit safer because of visibility reasons, and ironically, that is not what happened,” said Shelby Easler. It wasn’t until a driver approached them and informed them that the path they were on led nowhere that they realized the gravity of the situation.

Stranded in the Desert

After hitting various obstacles, including a cactus, a bush, and a rock, the Easler family finally turned around. However, they were met with the sight of over 100 cars also trying to find their way out. The family reached out to the California Patrol for assistance but were informed that they were busy dealing with collisions caused by the dust storm. It was a harrowing experience that lasted 14 hours, with the family finally returning home with a damaged car.

TikTok Video Goes Viral

Shelby Easler’s video documenting their ordeal in the desert quickly gained traction on TikTok, amassing over a million views. The video caught the attention of Google, prompting a response from the tech giant. A spokesperson issued a statement apologizing for the incident and confirming that the suggested route would no longer be used for drivers traveling between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Lessons Learned and Future Precautions

The incident serves as a reminder of the limitations of technology and the importance of human judgment. While Google Maps is a valuable tool for navigation, it is crucial for drivers to exercise caution and verify the suggested routes, especially in unfamiliar areas. Google’s apology and decision to reroute drivers through Interstate 15 demonstrate their commitment to rectifying the situation and prioritizing user safety.


The Google Maps desert detour incident highlights the potential dangers of relying solely on technology for navigation. While the application provides convenience and efficiency, it is essential for users to remain vigilant and exercise common sense. The harrowing experience faced by the families stranded in the desert serves as a cautionary tale and a reminder that human judgment should always prevail. As technology continues to evolve, it is crucial for companies like Google to prioritize user safety and learn from such incidents to prevent similar occurrences in the future.






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