Amherst drivers blame GPS for wrong-way drivers on I-90 exit ramp

Posted at 7:30 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 20:05:36-04

Amherst drivers say GPS instructions may have escalated a problem of wrong-way drivers mistakenly turning onto an I-90 westbound exit ramp in Lorain County. 

Multiple drivers have reported seeing drivers mistakenly turn onto the westbound ramp at Oak Point Road, believing it to be nearby Cooper Foster Park Road. 

“It’s right next to the Cooper Foster Road, so yeah a lot of people have done that,” said local driver Elaine Huff. “It is scary.” 

But driver error might not be entirely to blame. Because the roads are so close, other drivers have reported that the GPS directions can be confusing. 

Driving north on Oak Point, the arrow to turn points to Cooper Foster, but the voice command sounds as drivers near the entrance to the exit ramp. 

“There’s always a little bit of latitude with the GPS anyway so I can see where the GPS would make people make a wrong turn,” said local driver Bob Muska. 

But legally, Google Maps is off the hook. It has terms of use clause that includes an “actual conditions; assumption of risk” clause for actual conditions that differ from map results. 

Muska agreed with other drivers who are asking for enhanced signage or even flashing lights. 

But Police Chief Joseph Kucirek of the Amherst Police Department told News 5 they don’t have the data to request a change from the state. 

“We have not seen an increase in crashes of head on collisions going the wrong way,” said Kucirek, who explained that often times reports of wrong-way drivers resolve themselves before police arrive on the scene. 

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol data obtained by News 5, there were 20 crashes at the exit in 2016. The majority were near the westbound exit and Cooper Foster Park Road, but none we’re wrong way crashes. 

“Most of it associated with is being a driver unfamiliar with the area if this is happening or driver who is distracted,” he said. 

Kucirek said his department would have to provide data documenting a series of wrong-way crashes conclusively related to the signage in order to make a change through a city-state partnership.