Your GPS doesn’t know everything. Trust in it accordingly.

Map of incidents in Death Valley

Image from The Sacramento Bee, TOM KNUDSON/

I have a large atlas under the seat of my truck. It sees a lot of use because I don’t own a GPS. I have to find the need for one, actually. Between Web-based maps, the wonderful folks at AAA and a bit of common sense, I feel confident in my ability to find just about any place I want to go.

I have a buddy who swears by his GPS, especially when it comes to timing his arrivals. The text will read: “Be there at 1:47.”  That’s cool I guess. But hey, isn’t that why we measure automobile travel in miles per hour? Thus, in that context, his GPS is nothing more than a directionally-savvy calculator.


In yet another example of how the underlying spirit of getting away from it all doesn’t overlap too smoothly with the use of technology, rangers and national park officials, in whatever spare moments they have, are trying to work with GPS device manufacturers to ensure that desolate and dangerous roads don’t end in the lexicon of their products. Turns out, people put more faith in the voice of their windshield mounted map maker than they do the ones in their heads. It’s even reached the point where rangers have created the informal explanation of “Death by GPS.”

Is anyone surprised?

The Sacromento Bee pointed out that the problems are becoming much worse than just ending up in the wrong part of town. It’s more like ending up at the bottom of a ravine, bleeding, alone and being scorched to death by the heat of a thousand suns.

Love your iPhone. Just don’t love it too much.

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