Survival and Winter Travel–Could Your GPS Get You Killed?

Help Written on Snowy Car Window


            A week ago Fox News ran an AP story called “GPS Leads 3 Parties Astray in Oregon.”  It seems the Griffin family were in a hurry and wanted to take a shortcut to their in-laws and their new GPS showed it to them.  The only trouble is, they were on unfamiliar roads and got stuck in the snow.


They had no cell phone service and were low on baby formula.  They spent the night in their car and even made a good-bye video.  Fortunately, they were rescued.


            While something similar happened to two other families, the AAA says there isn’t a surge in this sort of thing.  Obviously the problem is over dependence on technology.  In times past when people relied more on paper maps, they could still get lost, but unquestioningly relying on GPS is foolhardy.


            Sure, it can be argued that it was technology that bailed the Griffins out.  Somebody used a GPS unit to determine what route the Griffins took.  They followed it and rescued the family.  That was taking quite a risk.  It meant figuring out the mistake the Griffins made and repeating it.  The story might not have had a happy ending at all.


            Technology isn’t bad in itself.  It can be a wonderful thing.  Keeping its use in perspective is crucial, and that can literally have an impact on our safety and survival.  And, yes, this applies to travel any time of year, not just in winter.


            Law enforcement officials and travel experts suggest travelers use paper maps as backups.  Of course, that means keeping maps current and knowing how to use them.


They also suggest configuring GPS settings for highways or a wider view of the route.  These devices only do what they’re told.  The operator needs to use common sense.  If you’re headed into a very snowy road, just don’t go that way.


            Also, keep plenty of gas in the car.  Make sure cell phone batteries are charged.  Let others know where you’re going and when you anticipate arrival.



Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.