Toyota Tercel Driver Gets Stuck on Jeep Trail After Following GPS Up a Mountain

A Utah search team was able to locate the stuck subcompact in the middle of the night and rescue the 23-year-old driver, who blamed Google Maps.

Older Toyota Tercels are renowned as rugged little cars that are more capable than they look. But not all Tercels are built alike, as one driver found out the hard way. By that I mean—they had to be rescued by a UTV after driving down an off-road trail when Google Maps failed them.

Recounted on Facebook by Wasatch County Search & Rescue, the incident occurred during the wee hours of July 4. The Tercel’s 23-year-old driver was traveling between Springville, Utah (south of Salt Lake City) and Vernal, in the northeast corner of the state. Their route took them past Strawberry Peak, where their phone (which had Google Maps active) lost cell service. From there, the poor lighting and a wrong turn were all it took to get the little Toyota stranded on the trail.

At 12:39 am, the county search and rescue team received a call for assistance and responded in a UTV. Pictures taken on-site show a broken trail of the sort you’d want reasonable ground clearance to tackle—more than the Tercel offered. Maybe if it’d been one of those all-wheel drive Tercel wagons, it might have made it.

It’s not clear what exactly stranded the Toyota, though there doesn’t appear to be fluid on the rocks leading up to the car’s stopping point. Instead of a punctured radiator or oil pan, it seems likely that the driver got a flat tire and pulled to the side of the trail.

In any case, it seems the driver was fine, but needed a lift to get off the mountain. That suggests the car couldn’t make it under its own power, and was indeed immobilized. While the driver’s pride may be a little bruised, having a car stranded on the side of a mountain is probably a bigger problem for them. Either they have to go back up on their own to fix it, or pay for an expensive off-road recovery service. And that’d probably cost more than it would to just replace the Tercel. Still, you can’t leave a whole car as litter!

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