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A car abandoned on a remote southern Idaho trail is now being towed to Nevada.  The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office explains it happened because a global position system, or GPS, confused the driver.  The small Prius eventually became stuck on a road where even some trucks have a tough time navigating.

Some online commenters claim GPS can’t lead anyone that far astray.  Sergeant Ken Mencl is with the Sheriff’s Office and says GPS often looks at the shortest distances and not always the quality of the road ahead.  There’s also a human element.  The system may instruct you to turn 1,000 feet onwards.  We often aren’t the best judges of distance, and if there’s another road 800 feet ahead, we could make the wrong turn.

This can become life-threatening.  A few years ago, a confused couple got stuck in the desert.  The husband left the car and went looking for help.  His remains were found after the spring thaw.  The wife survived on a limited amount of food and huddled under blankets.

A couple of years ago, GPS confusion caused the driver of a tractor-trailer to take the road to Centennial Park instead of Highway 93, while the driver was on his way to Nevada.

Perhaps you should look over an old-fashioned map before flipping on GPS.  Combining the two tools could cut down on confusion.  Also, before leaving on a trip, please let people know your planned route and promise to check in with family or friends at a planned time.

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.


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