Blame It on the GPS

A group of tourists in San Francisco who crashed into a Muni light rail car Wednesday night claim it was a gadget's fault.

Four people from Florida were in a van that crashed into the Muni light rail car at about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Third Street near Underwood Avenue.

The van's driver was following verbal directions from the GPS unit, the group told police, and when the gadget told him to turn left, they did. They did not see the light rail car coming and turned into its path. The next thing they knew, they had a close-up view of the Muni light rail car.

Four people in the van and three people on the train were injured. None of the injuries are life threatening.

There were early reports that alcohol might have also been a factor in the crash. Police had said that an open container was found inside the van, SFPD officer Samson Chan said.

The roadway at Underwood Ave. is clearly marked that there is no left turn allowed. Drivers who want to head left are supposed to wait until the next corner. But if ther'e nobody actually looking at the street signs the road, that becomes a problem. Depending on a device that might not have the correct information about a city's traffic rules could send drivers down the wrong path.

The lesson in this case is clear. When traveling in an unknown city, don't forget to bring the basics, like an old-fashioned map. You know, the kind that takes a few tries to fold up the right way.

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