Trooper tips: Always know where you’re going


By Master Trooper Gary Cutler
Colorado State Patrol

Our vehicles today seem to have everything we can possibly want in them. We can connect to the Internet, talk on our phones through the vehicle’s system and, of course, use our GPS. Doesn’t seem as if there is anything else we could possibly need for a road trip. But should we give absolute faith in those devices?

Being given road information through the GPS navigation system has helped drivers in finding their way around the globe. But what happens when your intended route is altered or completely closed due to some unforeseen problem such as road construction, rock slides, fires or other items that may arise? Well, one thing is your GPS can give you alternate routes. That’s good, isn’t it?

Recently I saw a story about where navigation systems have taken travelers considered by GPS to be a good alternate route to get around a closed road, but wasn’t really the case. Travelers found themselves being mired on roads unfit for two-wheel-drive vehicles. Sometimes the road looks as if it is more fit for an armored personnel carrier than the family car. Unfortunately, these stories have been around ever since GPS first came into existence and will probably still be around for a long time to come.

I caution travelers not to have blind faith in GPS when given alternate routes. Do your research first, just as you would anything else you are unfamiliar with. If the road starts off as a dirt road, this may be the first indicator that GPS may not have your best interest in mind.

This is also a good time again to talk about being prepared when you travel. Even though you may not think you would ever need a shovel to visit grandma, the video I saw of drivers going through rivers seems to show otherwise. I’m not saying every trip will require a shovel, but it’s nice to know you have items to help out when necessary.

So along with a shovel, keep blankets, food, water, flares and anything else you think may come up on a trip. Also, before you go on an alternate route that you may be unfamiliar with, check that gas gauge and make sure you are topped off with fuel.

So, remember, as Mulchor Lim stated: “Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations.” 

Just make sure you’re prepared when someone, or a GPS, sends you on that journey.

As always, safe travels.