Why You Should Never Use Your GPS During a Snowstorm, Officials Warn

The winter climate has wreaked its justifiable share of havoc this season, with states throughout the nation getting hit by snowstorms over the past two months. However irrespective of how skilled you’re with these hazardous circumstances, there is perhaps some security suggestions you are much less aware of. With that in thoughts, officers in numerous states have lately warned drivers in opposition to utilizing their GPS gadgets throughout snowstorms. Learn on to find the driving mistake that would put you in hurt’s means.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Winter Journey Errors to Keep away from.

GPS navigation system. Person driving a car with satellite navigation.

Vacationers are being requested to suppose twice earlier than counting on digital navigation gadgets throughout the winter.

Most lately, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) warned in opposition to this widespread observe, with the troop in Limon, Colorado, advising drivers to get off the highway as a substitute of following their GPS down alternate routes when primary roadways are closed or backed up for snowstorms.

“Discover a city to cease in, a restaurant, truck cease or resort and wait it out,” the Limon Troop wrote in a Jan. 17 submit on its official Fb web page.

Nevertheless it’s not solely Colorado state officers warning about this. “We’re as soon as once more urging vacationers to not blindly comply with their GPS gadgets to navigate round highway closures in winter storms,” the Jackson County Roads Division in Oregon wrote in a Nov. 2022 alert on its web site.

Driving SUV car in winter on forest road with much snow

Throughout Colorado’s final snowstorm, navigation apps led motorists off the primary roadways as soon as they had been closed, in keeping with the Limon Troop. Many drivers who had been anticipating to bypass highway closures by utilizing their GPS machines had been met with worse outcomes.

“The brand new routes can lead drivers down county roads that aren’t maintained,” the CSP’s troop defined on Fb. “Over the last blizzard, a number of individuals had been caught in drifts, or deep snow for hours and even days in excessive circumstances.”

Comparable situations have performed out in Oregon, the Jackson County Roads Division revealed. When Interstate 5—one of many state’s main highways—is closed for extreme snow circumstances, drivers find yourself diverted onto Colestine Highway by their GPS. However as a substitute of constant with their journey this fashion, they might spend “a lot of the evening ready for Jackson County Search and Rescue and County Highway Division staff to rescue them,” in keeping with the division.

“Colestine Highway is a slim, very steep, gravel highway that’s unmaintained throughout night hours,” the Jackson County Roads Division defined. “The route is signed as not being maintained after darkish within the winter, but drivers proceed to make use of this route as a bypass in dangerous climate. It is not a bypass—do not belief your GPS!”

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Cars driving on a highway are stuck in traffic because of a snow storm.

The Limon Troop advises drivers to not comply with navigation gadgets down “harmful routes” throughout snowstorms it doesn’t matter what. “A superb rule of thumb is that if the highways or interstate is closed, the county roads will likely be impassable as effectively,” the CSP troop wrote on Fb.

William Baldwin, a driving knowledgeable and the founding father of AutoGlobes, explains that almost all GPS gadgets aren’t geared up to think about these hazards when mechanically suggesting alternate routes.

“Whereas navigation gadgets and apps are nice for locating sooner routes, you possibly can’t depend on them to steer you to a secure route throughout inclement climate,” he tells Greatest Life. Because of this, your GPS would possibly direct you onto to backroads and native roads, despite the fact that they’re “often the final to be cleared throughout snowstorms,” in keeping with Baldwin.

“In the event you heed your GPS’ recommendation to get off the freeway, you might get caught on a highway with deep snow, and also you may not get assist quick,” he says. “So, if it’s a must to use your GPS to get to your vacation spot throughout a snowstorm, simply make sure that to not comply with its advice to take a backroad. Keep on the freeway even when it means getting caught in visitors. That is safer in comparison with being stranded in the course of nowhere.”

Friends Taking stuff from car trunk

If you understand a snowstorm has or may immediate highway closures, the “most secure factor” you are able to do total is to keep away from heading out on the highway to start with, in keeping with Eric Peterson, an skilled journey information and founding father of The Savvy Campers.

“I like to recommend checking the highway circumstances within the space earlier than heading out,” he says. “This may be achieved by checking the climate experiences and consulting native state freeway inspections.”

However if in case you have no different selection otherwise you’re already out on the highway when extreme climate strikes, it is vital so that you can have security instruments saved away in your automotive so that you can flip to.

“All the time journey with a winter emergency equipment throughout chilly seasons,” says Rick Musson, a 21-year regulation enforcement officer and a visitors security advisor with 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com. “That means, should you’re caught on the freeway throughout a snowstorm, you’ve gotten meals, water, blankets, and mandatory medicine accessible.”

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