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Use a map to keep your GPS from leading you into an accident

Most West Virginia readers have likely experienced something similar to the following situation: You are driving to a destination using your GPS system as your guide. When you type in the address, the GPS sends you on a convoluted route that leads to a small dirt road that does not lead to your final destination. Not only is this type of experience frustrating, it can also be dangerous.

Last week one West Virginia man was involved in a truck accident after his GPS device routed him onto a one-way road that is impassable to large trucks. Unaware that his truck would not be able to follow the route, the driver ended up perched on a steep embankment. Although he was not injured, the guardrail was torn up. Police arrived at the scene of the accident and a wrecker was brought in to remove the truck.

According to a representative from the state Department of Transportation, it isn't rare for a truck to end up on an impassable road and the problem is especially severe on sections of West Virginia 72 and U.S. 219. "It's becoming a weekly occurrence where they are having to tow trucks away because they have been following GPS up roads they shouldn't go up," she said.

The representative said that warning signs have been placed on roads that trucks are not able to travel on, but many of them are ignored. If anything, these accidents are a reminder that as much as most of us like to rely on technology, a good old fashioned map may be the only way to ensure you aren't headed for trouble.

Source: Charleston Daily Mail, "Crash highlights GPS flaws," Marcus Constantino, June 6, 2012

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