GPS could send you the wrong way - KOTA Territory News

GPS could send you the wrong way

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When driving through the many rural areas of KOTA Territory it's easy to rely on your GPS to get to your destination.

"Sometimes they route you the quickest way or the shortest way, but that's not always the best route," said Trooper Kelly Broad with the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Punch a destination into your GPS that's close to the Big Horn Mountain range and it might tell you to use a road that's covered in snow and closed for the season.

"I think most of the time they work well, but you just can't depend your life on them," said Broad.

Last month Broad found a young woman stuck in the Big Horn Mountains. She was traveling from Spearfish to Powell.

"The GPS routed her up US 14 and at Burgess Junction it routed her off the main highway, down the forest service roads and she continued to follow that," said Broad.

Wyoming transportation officials say they see a similar problem with some semi trucks traveling through the mountains.

"They stick in their GPS the quickest way back to Rapid City. When they do that, their GPS unit takes them over a huge mountain area," said public relations specialist Ronda Holwell with the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

Holwell says a truck crashed earlier this season when it lost control trying to make a turn.

"Basically they burn their brakes out, because they don't know how to gear down properly to drive in that mountain pass," said Holwell.

Winter is not the only time drivers follow their GPS to unusable rural roads.

"Numerous times in the summer, the highway workers up on the mountain find travelers back in that same road that are trying to follow their GPS in a route to get to Yellowstone and there's just no possible way you can get to Yellowstone from where this girl was," said Broad.

The highway patrol suggests comparing your GPS read out to a map before your trip, tell someone where you're going and what time you should arrive, check for any GPS software updates, and pay close attention to all road signs.

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