Mohammad Zafar, 35, drove his car into a ditch after the sat nav in his Mini Cooper (pictured) directed him there
A hapless city dweller was left stranded in pitch darkness and forced to shell out £720 to recover his car after his sat nav directed him into a ditch.
Mohammad Zafar, 35, said he was the laughing stock of his lads weekend after he didn’t arrive until 6am the following morning having spent the night on farmland three miles from the road.
The legal consultant set off late from his hometown of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Friday, August 2, for a camping weekend with his cousins.
He was heading towards Windermere, Cumbria, but took a wrong turn just five miles from his destination.
But Mr Zafar claims his Mini Countryman’s sat nav continued to tell him he was heading in the right direction, despite navigating him onto ‘pitch black’ farmland.
He ended up having to leave his car trapped in a waterlogged ditch three miles from the road.
The legal consultant was heading towards Windermere in Cumbria but he was navigated to ‘pitch black’ farmland where his car became stuck (pictured)
Mr Zafar said he was unable to move the car from the waterlogged ditch and he started to panic
Mr Zafar’s problems continued as he had limited phone signal and the emergency services were unable to help without knowing his location.
He was then forced to wait for three hours until a family search party found him before abandoning his car and returning to the campsite.
After spending the entire weekend fruitlessly searching for assistance to help remove his car from the Lake District field, he was forced to shell out £720 to a specialist 4×4 company to tow it back to the road – all in time for the 90 minute return journey home.
Mr Zafar, a father, who is now selling the £10,000 car, is now speaking out to warn motorists of the dangers of trusting sat nav technology.
He said: ‘I was late setting off and hadn’t left until about 10.30pm at night, so by the time I got lost it was already the early hours of Saturday morning.
‘It was saying I was about five miles away and then I took a wrong turn, but the sat nav said I was still going in the right direction so I carried on.
The father said he became the laughing stock of his camping trip and he didn’t make it to the sight until 6am on Saturday morning
He was forced to shell out £720 to a specialist 4×4 company to tow it back to the road
‘I ended up in a bit of an obscure place, it was pitch black and it started taking me onto a really narrow track but I still thought it was fine because the sat nav was telling me to go that way.
‘Then I noticed it was saying I was two hours away, but by that point I couldn’t turn round and I couldn’t even see which way I had come it was so dark.
‘I carried on and the car got stuck in a ditch, that’s when I really started to panic.’
Mr Zafar said he couldn’t move the car at all when it became stuck in the waterlogged field.
He eventually rang 112 but without knowing his location, the emergency services said they were unable to help him.
In the end, he worked out his latitude and longitude coordinates and his cousins set out to find him.
Mr Zafar was found by the search party who took three hours to find him after he gave his coordinates
He said: ‘It was still another three hours until they managed to get to me, I was being attacked by so many different flies, spiders and other insects which were being attracted by the headlights, and when the search party arrived it was another hour walk to the car because they’d parked on the roadside.
‘I didn’t actually get to the campsite until 6am on Saturday morning.’
Despite the tumultuous journey there, he said he didn’t let it ruin the weekend but did face plenty of jibes and tormenting from his cousins, who made him the laughing stock of the trip.
But before he could return home, he faced a £720 bill to retrieve the car and get it back to a road-worthy state to drive – including reattaching both his number plates.
Despite rarely using a sat nav anyway, Mohammad added he would be even more hesitant to use one again and would research his destination before driving somewhere he hadn’t already visited before.
Sat nav safety
Simon Henrick, from breakdown company Green Flag, said: ‘Sat navs are an amazing piece of technology that many of us could not do without, however, on occasions they can literally send you down the wrong path.
‘Even if you’re planning to use a sat nav it’s worth researching your journey and ensuring the technology is there to guide you and not lead you.
‘Understanding the road layout and road signs are just as important when using a sat nav as when you aren’t.’
Mohammad said: ‘We found a recovery company that were able to get the car out of the ditch and took it back to Windermere to fix the little bits of damage on the Sunday.
‘He charged my £720 but I didn’t think it was that bad considering no-one had been injured and I was still alive.
‘I was able to drive it away on the Sunday afternoon and got back home for 8pm, so it was all in a weekend’s work, but I was knackered by the time I got back.
‘I’m not a big fan of sat navs anyway, I only use them when I don’t know the area I’m travelling to but I’d advise others to be vigilant and hesitant when using them too now – especially in rural areas – and to make sure they have the exact location put into the sat nav correctly.’