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British Village Requests Removal From GPS Maps 539

longacre writes "The tiny village of Barrow Gurney, England, has asked GPS map publisher Tele Atlas to remove them from the company's maps. The reason: truck drivers using GPS navigation devices are being directed to drive through the town despite the roads being too narrow for sidewalks, which has led to numerous accidents. At the root of the problem lies the fact that the navigation maps used by trucks are the same as those used by passenger cars, and they don't contain data on road width or no-truck zones. Tele Atlas says they will release truck-appropriate databases at some point, but until then they advise local governments to make use of a technology dating back to the Romans: road signs."
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British Village Requests Removal From GPS Maps

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  • Road Signs? (Score:3, Informative)

    by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:29PM (#21580245) Journal
    Haha! Truckers don't look at Road Signs!
    Hell, they don't even look before they change lanes. I had one force me over a lane just the other day. They're crazy if they think truckers will just turn around and go another way if the road says "no trucks".
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:31PM (#21580263)
      Cut him some slack, he probably just had some Decepticon ass to kick.
    • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Radres ( 776901 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:31PM (#21580269)
      Sounds like a great opportunity for the law enforcement officers of Barrow Gurney to make some money issuing fines.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by pembo13 ( 770295 )

        Sounds like a great opportunity for the law enforcement officers of Barrow Gurney to make some money issuing fines.
        Based on the given information, I actually agree with this. I just hope they don't use that as an excuse to be tasing truckers.
      • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by slamb ( 119285 ) * on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:26PM (#21580737) Homepage

        Sounds like a great opportunity for the law enforcement officers of Barrow Gurney to make some money issuing fines.

        To me, it sounds like a rare instance of authorities caring more about safety than money. Unfortunately, your attitude seems to be more common - to the point that some communities (*cough*Union City, CA []*cough) have been caught deliberately and illegally causing unsafe situations in order to increase revenue from traffic violations.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JonathanR ( 852748 )

          To me, it sounds like a rare instance of authorities caring more about safety than money.
          Only when prompted by community outrage first, however.
        • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thej1nx ( 763573 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:50PM (#21580877)
          Maybe authorities might not care about money in this instance, but truckers do.

          Just put up a sign saying "Toll Road for Trucks: XX $" and watch how truckers do a quick reverse and disappear forever.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Just put up a sign saying "Toll Road for Trucks: XX $" and watch how truckers do a quick reverse and disappear forever.

            Such a sign would be especially effective at discouraging British truck drivers who don't routinely keep American currency on hand.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by carlivar ( 119811 )
          Union City is nothing new. In High School physics we had a project to time yellow lights in town along with speed limit and distance of the intersection, compared to deceleration (braking) of the average car.

          I would say about half of the lights the class examined had a "no win zone" where it was impossible to either make it through the intersection (w/o speeding) or brake in time if the light turned yellow. This was in 1994.

          I'm not sure if it's greed on the part of governments or just simple incompetence. P
      • I live next door... (Score:5, Informative)

        by iceZebra ( 1148629 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @06:44AM (#21583197)

        Sounds like a great opportunity for the law enforcement officers of Barrow Gurney to make some money issuing fines.

        Just to clarify things a little...
        I've lived most of my life in the village next door to Barrow Gurney. It's barely a village, approximately 400 people... As for law enforcement, it's the local Women's Institute, frowning upon any anti-social behaviour and gossiping people to death.

        I used to visit the abbattoir there regularly for fresh meat (braaaiinnns....) but since it shut down, there's no longer and point to visit. Should it disappear off the map, I'm not sure anyone else would mind (apparently including those who live there). :)

        In regard to the actual situation in hand, I can confirm that it's a great shortcut for getting round the area "off-piste". The road section in the main part of Barrow Gurney is very, very wide and would fit several lorries in no problem. The only difficulty is that the rest of the village and all access to it is via narrow lanes (for you Americans read: tarmac'd footpaths) and can get a little hairy even in a car.
        • Upcoming R&D (Score:3, Interesting)

          by iceZebra ( 1148629 )
          Something else I neglected to mention. I work for the Safety, Standard and Research section of the Highways Agency. Responsible for technology projects with regard to the major road network in England; part of the Department for Transport.

          A project has been looked at and is undergoing further discussion (into whether it's DfT's, SatNav companies' or Haulage companies' responsibility) on a separate SatNav system specifically for haulage. I.e. a system that only uses roads with sufficient capacity for lo
          • by geobeck ( 924637 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @10:39AM (#21584635) Homepage

            I found a copy of the original correspondence between the village and the TeleAtlas:

            )Dear TeleAtlas: Please wipe us off the map.

            Dear Barrow Gurney council: We have contacted the Ministry of Defence. Unfortunately, they do not have the capacity to fulfill your request. They have contracted an ex-government organization in the Ukraine that has a surplus device that will suit your needs. Please have everyone at a minimum safe distance of 20 miles by 6 o'clock this morning. We apologize for the delay in sending this response, however... um... never mind.
    • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:31PM (#21580271) Journal
      They will take notice of a sign that says "Maximum clearance" though. :)
      • They will take notice of a sign that says "Maximum clearance" though. :)

        Not often enough, though. There's a bridge near here that's got an impressive collection of scrapes and dents from truckers taking the tops off their vehicles.
        • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:58PM (#21580927) Journal
          It doesn't matter if you design the thing to block and be hit by a truck reasonably safely and not serve any other function.

          At the entry roads to the village put up barriers that will block vehicles above a certain height. Most trucks are taller than normal vehicles that would fit.

          Or set up a chicane designed to block vehicles which won't make it through the village.

          Then put up a big traffic sign with red circle and a red slash across it with a symbol of a truck inside the circle - "No trucks". This is so you can justify the fines etc to drivers that ignore it and hit the barriers/chicane.

          It's better to have the trucks stuck outside the village than inside the village - damage to stuff that's designed to take the damage, easier to clean up the mess, doesn't affect village as much, etc.

          If you're lucky you might be able to place the barriers where it's much easier to tow the trucks away.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I think in jolly ole England those Maximum Clearance" sign are marked "Max. Headroom". How many times have truck drivers, in England they are called lorry drivers, ignore all of those signs. Here are some image of what happens if someone ignores those signs: [] [] There are many others you can search the internet for. I know there are many other villages in Europe that
      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        That is brilliant! They just need to make sure that it is outside of town where no innocent bystanders will get hurt when the occasional accident happens. Heck, they could set up video cameras, and if the trucks keep coming, they can sell the footage to one of those 'real car wreck' programs. If they have the road posted as no trucks ahead of the 'bridge', they even get to fine the driver when they crash.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Additional signs aren't required - driving inappropriately close to other vehicles or pedestrians, which these truck drivers must be doing, is driving without due care and attention and comes with 3-9 penalty points so a truck driver who cops a couple of these is going to find himself cleaning trucks rather than driving them. Claiming there were no signs warning of narrow roads is likely to solicit a response of "are you registered blind" from any judge and the response to "satnav made me do it" doesn't bea
      • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DeathElk ( 883654 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:18AM (#21581855)

        Hmm, not always... reminds me of a story. A truck driver underestimated the height of his trailer and promptly got stuck under a bridge. As a huge traffic jam swelled up behind, the truck driver and sheriff walked around the truck, rubbing their chins. The driver tried reversing, but got only tyre spin and fould smelling smoke. It was really stuck.

        A motorist walked up and introduced himself as; "John Cooper, I helped design this bridge, maybe I can help".

        Much walking around, chin rubbing and head scratching ensued, amidst the spiraling honking and abuse.

        "I think we're going to have to bring in hydraulic lifts and raise the bridge slightly" Said John Cooper.

        "Ungh, my boss ain't gonna like that" Said the truck driver.

        Just then, a kid, riding by on his bike stopped, dismounted, took of his cap (this was before compulsory bicycle helmets), looked up and down and said...

        "Why don't you let some air out of the tyres?"

    • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:38PM (#21580323)
      Put up road signs. Next, enforce the laws with lengthy traffic stops for trucks and strict fines. If one causes an accident anyway, feel free to throw them in jail pending local laws and the installation of signs detailing the laws.
    • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Informative)

      by piltdownman84 ( 853358 ) <piltdownman84@m[ ]com ['ac.' in gap]> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:59PM (#21580499)
      Trucks have gotten really bad up here in around Vancouver, Canada. Especially late at night. They pay no attention to street lights, they simply blow their horn and if your lucky you get out of the way. My father wasn't so lucky a few years back. The driver didn't even deny that he ran the red, just said he didn't see my dad. Actually my father was lucky as he wasn't seriously hurt, although that was the end of that van. Everyone I know has a story about how "they almost got killed by a big truck".
      • Glad your father came out of the ordeal alright. I've met a few Canadian truckers. They tend to be rather unpleasant (unlike most of the other Canadians I've known over the years).

        Some of the interstates (and a lot of cities, for that matter) here in the US aren't any better. I have far too many stories of almost being run off the road by long haul truckers that either aren't paying any attention to the road or are literally falling asleep at the wheel. It's crazy.

        Then there was the night that I almost
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CrazyDuke ( 529195 )
      Big trucks have some horrendous blind spots, even with all the mirrors. We're (past tense now) taught to clear the lane first. But, in city traffic, things like that and following distance go out the window because everyone is in a contest to see who can be the biggest asshole. And, there is always things like road hypnosis and plain old not paying attention.

      Sometimes the "No Trucks" signs get ignored because the delivery location only accessable from that route. But, yeah, I've seen plenty of drivers i
      • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @06:35AM (#21583163) Journal

        There once was a time when most trucks had TWO people in the cabin, the driver and the "bijrijder" (no idea what the english word his, but his job is to lend a hand). There also used to be "relaxed" schedules. Upon arrival the trucker would be directed to the kantine and be given real coffee and perhaps something to eat while his truck was loaded/unloaded.

        Nowadays even trucks with frequent stops and for innercity work do NOT have a "bijrijder", an extra set of eyes, a person who can go out of the cabin and direct traffic, a person who keeps the driver awake and alert. The schedules are intense while the number of delays has only increased. Unless the loading/unloading is at a wharehouse the trucker now often has to help with the loading/unloading.

        This all makes for drivers who are tired, overworked and in constant fear of their jobs being taken by whatever is the next low wage country where none of the rules apply.

        All in pursuit of the almighty buck. Notice how especially trucks from companies like DHL and other delivery firms that are always pushing the limits drive incredibly unsafely. I know how the routine goes, deliver 100 packages and next day they give you 110. Deliver them, and you get 120. Traffic jam? Just work overtime, that is increasinly hard to get overtime PAY for. The odd thing is that if you look at maintenance records this practive is very bad as the trucks are pushed way too hard and this actually costs a lot of money. Plus the invevitable accidents really start to affect business.

        But hey, the package has to be delivered NOW and for as little money as possible.

        That is the reason many truckers are a danger on the road.

        It is the same reason tech support (who are on orders to handle as many calls as possible) often just says "reboot/reinstall" and tries to hangup.

        Want good service/behaviour? Stop squeezing the margins, introduce strict laws and make sure people ain't forced to push the limits just to make a living, because they won't always get it right and a rude tech support guy is bad enough but an asleep driver of a truck is another thing altogether.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Haha! Truckers don't look at Road Signs! Hell, they don't even look before they change lanes

      :) that may be so but they *will* obey a nice set of reinforced concrete pillars ready to catch anyone foolish enough to disregard the signs. which is exactly what the local towns are doing over here...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I know! The British truck drivers are the worst! They are all driving on the wrong side of the road! /ducks
    • Re:Road Signs? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @05:00AM (#21582789)
      As a UK truck driver, I can say with confidence "I bet you would prefer me to look at the road than at a map!" Its not like there are convenient places to pull to the side of the road and look at a map. In country areas, if you stop, so do the 75 vehicles behind you.

      Tele Atlas have a complete monopoly on GPS maps, why the $£%@ cant they be FORCED to put height and weight limits on their maps by the government, on pain of having their rights to sell removed.

      Its not only me, I know a load of drivers who have e-mailed tomtom and the like over the last 7 years, asking for the ability to enter the fact that I am in a vehicle 40ft long and 16 foot high and 8 foot six wide on the screen and not be sent down 7 foot wide roads with 9 foot six high bridges.

      We dont do it for fun. You try reversing it when you come to the restriction.

      As for the arseholes who suggest fines:

      (a) For most drivers the company pays, and a lot of the rest are based in east Europe, and would not pay anyway.

      (b) No driver would go there if he knew how to avoid the problem. Its not about saving money or time, its about lack of info on the alternatives - how do we know the other road is better if its not shown as better?

      Teleatlas could fix the problem but won't. regulation is needed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Simon Brooke ( 45012 )

      Haha! Truckers don't look at Road Signs!


      My commute home takes me over a bridge which is 1.8 metres wide []. Last night the traffic was queueing back half a mile from the bridge. I cycled past the queue to find a bunch of polis [] trying to deal with a truck and trailer that were too wide for the bridge and too big to turn in the road.

      I thought as I watched them, 'ah, another victory for Tom Tom []!'

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hell, they don't even look before they change lanes. I had one force me over a lane just the other day. They're crazy if they think truckers will just turn around and go another way if the road says "no trucks".

      If you don't respect the trucks blind spots [], then don't be surprised. Their blind spots are huge and because of this I give them wide berth or make sure I pass them quickly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ajs ( 35943 )

      Truckers don't look at Road Signs!

      They do, but there's a complicated heuristic involved in how they respond to them.

      I live on a street that as a clearly posted sign that says trucks may not drive down it after 10PM. However, it's the primary city street connecting central Cambridge, MA (USA) to downtown Somerville, MA. These two cities have a lot of trucking between them, and many truckers simply ignore the signs, knowing that police don't patrol the street.

      I'd really like it if GPS maps were more up-to-date with this info so that they cou

  • Britooine (Score:2, Funny)

    by graviplana ( 1160181 )
    These aren't the roads you're looking for.
  • by sholden ( 12227 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:32PM (#21580273) Homepage []

    I would expect idiots to ignore them, because the computer voice must be obeyed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Paul Slocum ( 598127 )
      According to your FA, they are working: "since the signs were put up in November last year there has been a great improvement."
  • by Meshach ( 578918 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:35PM (#21580291)
    I could see truckers ignoring them, especially if a GPS or map is advising them to take a different route. At least some of them are going to assume that the sign is wrong. Adding that feature to the software should be a priority.
    • by Shabbs ( 11692 )
      Then add some MASSIVE fines for trucks over a certain tonnage using those roads. Nice little revenue stream for the village and the truckers will eventually get the message.

    • There's a 100% sure cure for that kind of idiocy; it's called draconian fines. If there's ONE thing humans understand, is consequence for their actions. No consequences --> no change in behaviour.
      • The current consequences probably include getting a tow truck to pull the truck out from between two ridiculously spaces stone walls, then repairing the damage to the truck and the walls. Probably paid for by the driver, or truck company. But still a great inconvenience to the village even if the damage is eventually paid for.

        Have you actually been on some of those countryside roads in the UK? It's hard enough fitting a small car on some of them, let alone a truck.
    • by Zouden ( 232738 )
      I think a low-clearance bridge across the road would be pretty effective.
  • Quick fix (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:38PM (#21580321) Journal
    Big, giant speed bumps. Doesn't generate much revenue, but it will send a very effective message.
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      When the truck hits it at 55 MPH and launches into your living room, unfortunately, you're the one who will effectively get the message.... :-)

  • by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:43PM (#21580357)
    ...for local people.
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xeth ( 614132 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:46PM (#21580379) Journal
    ...basically, by misdirecting trucks via GPS, the machines now have a way to kill us.
    • ...basically, by misdirecting trucks via GPS, the machines now have a way to kill us.

      I spent a portion of my afternoon working with various ultrasound machines in a hospital. Trust me, the machines already have a way to kill us. An evil ultrasound machine could decide to add a tumor to an image where a tumor doesn't exist (resulting in unnecessary chemo, radiation and surgery) or, worse yet, delete a real tumor from an image (resulting in the patient not knowing they have cancer).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Xeth ( 614132 )

        Yeah, but the GPS-guided deathlorry can stalk you wherever you are.

        Maybe if the ultrasound machines find a way to start luring unsuspecting humans into hospitals?

  • there will still be millions of unit out there with the old maps.

    they will need to find another solution. such as a no trucks sign and a cop with a bad attitude to hand out the tickets.

  • Easier solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:48PM (#21580397) Homepage Journal
    1. Post sign at entrance to turn off that says "trucks over X lbs subject to 500 fine"
    2. Station police officer 100 yards past sign.
    3. Profit!
    • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:27PM (#21580741)
      4. Get fined by the EU for using lb instead of kilograms
  • Adapt! (Score:5, Funny)

    by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:50PM (#21580415)

    Barrow Gurney, instead of trying to do away with this new source of traffic, adapt! Enjoy the opportunity of having all these truck divers going through your locality to develop your economy and move on to the next level!

    Everyone knows a truck driver craves fornication with women. Have whores! Put some money into turning an old farm in dereliction into a brothel and import truckloads of east European prostitutes! Then build your economy around this, build hotels, fast-food restaurants, gynaecology clinics, and soon enough you'll be the city every European truck driver wants to stop in!

  • The request is totally unreasonable, information is not easily contained. A lot of roads are designated for non-truck use, if trucks don't obey signs, ticket the trucks, drivers, and companies they belong to. There's no need to create new laws and rules for such a simple thing.
  • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:58PM (#21580477)
    This being slashdot, I'm expecting lots of people to post either agreeing that a few road signs are all that's needed, or some sort of opposite position, like hide the signs behind bushes and then ticket the hell out of the truckers.
            The real problem is, for every trucker that actually is clueless and 'innocently' relies totally on the GPS info, there's another one who has heard the road is too narrow and difficult for trucks, but will try it anyway, and then claim he never heard any other driver say differently. The ones that will lie like hell about having foreknowledge are also the ones who will claim they made the decision to go that way based only on GPS info, and they assumed the GPS wouldn't mislead them. They may well claim that their dispatcher didn't say anything either, to shield their firm from potential liability, and try to make it look like the gadjet is the real source of the whole problem.
          Now what happens if the truck didn't just clip a historic building or two (Which are pence a dozen in the UK), but, e.g., ran over a kid?
          This is really about the difference in UK and US law. In the US, there are plenty of precedents that let the child's parents sue the trucker's firm, the GPS maker, or whomever has the deepest pockets. In the UK, there's much less ability to extend liability to someone only peripherally involved. A tangled mess of a case, with lots of arguments about just who is responsible for what percentage of total damages, tends to result in much more modest settlements there. One thing both locations share is that all too often average people tend to assume a computer based system doesn't make mistakes.
            This means the town may be playing it smart - take away the GPS info, and the driver has to justify his decision based on paper maps, talking with the corporate dispatcher, or some other source of info, and if that's not a computer, the driver can't weasel out of much by claiming he assumed the source of info was infallible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 )
      Build sidewalks. Seriously.
    1. Draft a local ordinance with a big fine for driving an oversized vehicle on a road where they are prohibittied.
    2. Prohibit oversized vehicles on said road.
    3. Profit

    There are small towns that exist only to serve as speed traps on highways. They incorporate near a highway and lower the speed limit to 25 mph. The only service the town provides is a police force. The only thing the police force does is write speeding tickets. Their only sounce for income is from these speeding tickets. This income is only s

  • I know this place (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:03PM (#21580535)
    Its fairly near to me and I agree with the residents...

    It is a death trap and its not just lorries, its tourists who are getting from the west country to bristol. Its a great shortcut between two major roads, but it was not designed for the amount of traffic that gps sends through. They have seen MAJOR increases in traffic since gps became popular.

    The roads are built like they are for horse and cart. They wind up and down and they are very narrow with no pavement, people do die there.
  • Superlorry (Score:2, Informative)

    This article's timing is very interesting given all the talk about 'superlorries' in the uk press this week. The 'superlorry' is a 60-tonne vehicles, that will fit 60% more goods than the current big trucks in the UK. The government is considering allowing them in the UK, and according to BBC this morning they are currently on test at some small airport. The haulage companies say if approved they will only operate on motorways, but groups are already concerted about these trucks going through small towns,
  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [vdalived]> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:26PM (#21580729) Homepage
    Make a bypass! Problem solved!

    What? There's a house in the way? You say it's owned by Arthur Dent?

    I'll get the byzantine paper trail started, go tell Prosser to fire up the bulldozer.
  • US truck routing programs like PC*Miler and IntelliRoute DO know about truck restrictions. Which means that on the Main Line in Pennsylvania, which has many train bridges less than 13" 6' above the roadway (one has under 9 feet clearance!), it's usually rental trucks which hit them rather than the big commercial ones...
  • I wholeheartedly sympathize with the residents of Barrow Gurney, because ever since the introduction of sat nav we've seen a large increase in the number of delivery lorries (mostly from builders yards) going past our house, and half the time scraping or banging into the drystone wall attached to our house because the road is so narrow. We've asked them why they travel down past our house instead of coming from the other end of our road to get where they were going, their answer almost every time: sat nav
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @06:01AM (#21583027) Homepage
    The put up physical barriers. At first I was rather confused when I saw these pillars and other barriers on different roads. And when I asked various people who live there, they often didn't know. But I guess it only takes one person to know to stop asking as I eventually got the answer. Roads that are too narrow in places for vehicles of larger sizes (those little 2/3s cars were usually okay everywhere) would likely cause problems if they were permitted.

    No one reads road signs... well some people do, but the risk and frequency of that happening is too high.

    The barrier method is both obvious and effective. The only reason it never occurred to me naturally is that we don't have those here in the US. The nearest thing similar in effect in my area are those pipe-grated things that are often found along country roads. Don't know what they are called, but they are used to keep live stock from walking out into the street. We also have various barrier devices similar to those of the Japanese, but they are used to protect buildings or obvious devices and structures, not block access to roads or weak bridges.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.