GPS Misdirection Almost Results in Disaster

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On Monday a pair of deliveryВ  men barely avoided disaster while trying to follow the directions given to them by their GPS system.В  The driver from Sunroc Building Material was looking for an address on Woodhill Road.

Unfamiliar with the area, they faithfully followed the voice as it directed them up 900 North to the steep, slick climb up the dug way. The truck was ill equipped to make the accent and quickly lost traction and slid backwards toward a ditch. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, they put a chock behind the tire and hiked to the top of the hill looking for help only to find nothing there. Their boss was able to send a truck to get them back down with no further trouble and they managed to find the correct address.

This is not the first time that delivery trucks and others have been misdirected up the hill by GPS and other mapping programs. Wood Hill road or Wood Hill Drive as it is referred to on some maps, runs from Carbonville up past the Questar gas facility towards the Carbon School Board offices and then turns into 400 North.В  The road off 900 North is also labeled as Woodhill Road and after a steep climb continues toward Kenilworth.

Entering in an address to a GPS for a home located on the road from Carbonville recently resulted in a path that would have taken a driver up the steep unpaved road toward Kenilworth.В  A portion of that path was a dead end stub road that isn’t even open access to Woodhill.

Several different mapping programs on the computer list the lower stretch of Woodhill differently. Some call it Woodhill Drive and some call it Woodhill road.В  This confusion can make it very difficult for outsiders trying to locate an address along the route.

As more and more vehicles are GPS equipped and people rely on them to find unknown locations, misdirection and misleading routes remain a problem. While this can be troublesome any time of year, in winter months it can take a more dangerous turn. Every winter there are stories of stranded motorist who have died due to exposure because they were not found in time after attempting to follow a road they should not have been on.

To avoid disaster, double-check your route before heading out. If you find yourself on a road that looks questionable STOP before you are at a point of no return.В  Have a hard copy of a reliable map on board to use. Ask for directions when possible. And finally, know when to turn around and abandon the attempt if you are at all in doubt of the safety of the situation.

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