After Woman Gets Stuck in Desert for 5 Days, How to Avoid Being Led Astray By Your GPS
Amber VanHecke says she took the turn even though it didn't look right.
A college student ended up stranded in the desert for five days after she says her GPS led the wrong way — and she's not the first.
Amber VanHecke, 24, was driving to the Grand Canyon when she says her GPS told her to turn down a road that didn't exist. She ran out of gas and was stranded for five days in the desert before she was finally rescued.
“I wanna leave messages for you guys but every time I think about it I just start crying,” she said in a video diary she recorded before she was rescued 5 days later.
While GPS may be a marvel of modern technology, AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair told Inside Edition it can sometimes lead you astray.
“These devices have taken people to non-existent roads, taken them to cliffs. I was using one once looking for a hotel — it took me to a cemetery,” he said.
VanHecke is just the latest example of someone putting too much faith in GPS.
In 2010, an Oregon couple followed their GPS directions and got stranded on a snow-covered road before they were found.
“We have literally been stuck in the snow for 12 hours,” they said in a video. “It's 19 degrees and we have the baby with us.”
In another case last May, a driver followed GPS directions straight into a lake.
So what should you do to prevent a GPS disaster?
“Before you go out with your GPS, it's good to track your location — either with an online map, turn-by-turn directions, or a paper map,” Sinclair said.
And as for the Grand Canyon, reading a tour book might have alerted VanHecke as to what to expect.
“Be prepared for adverse and isolated conditions. Most of the monument has no cellphone coverage,” Sinclair said, adding that people “should not turn off their brain” while driving with GPS.
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