Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shortcut, GPS Get Tourists Into Trouble

A group of 26 tourists had to be rescued from a remote part of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument recently when they tried to drive passenger cars down rugged backroads.

They got into trouble after a tour guide told them they could take a shortcut to Grand Canyon, and their GPS showed what appeared to be a good route. They were running out of gas and supplies when they decided to call for help. Luckily they were able to get cell phone service. Had they not had that signal, the incident may not have had a happy ending.

KSL TV has this report. Below are excerpts.

Kane County Sheriff Lamont Smith says, "I think the best thing anybody can do when they go into an area like that is, if they're going off on a road that is not paved, is not well (maintained) like a county road, they need to ask the local people where it goes and what do I need to travel that road."

GPS devices do have options, and one of them is whether you want to follow unpaved roads. The unpaved road options should always be turned off; that should prevent you from being prompted to get into the backcountry.

The Kane County sheriff warns that these devices can be helpful, but you should know how to use them and let common sense override any directions you get from a GPS.

Read the full report.

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