Don't blindly trust GPS shortcuts, warns National Park Service

Tesla car stuck in mud in Mojave desert
(Image credit: Mojave NPS)

The National Park Service has warned people visiting Mojave National Preserve not to trust their car's GPS navigation system, as it doesn't take account of recent road closures due to flash flooding.

In a Facebook post, the NPS explained that roads may appear to be open on your in-car mapping system, but this isn't always accurate. Ignoring warning signs and relying on your car's sat-nav to find the quickest route could lead you into dangerous conditions, such as steep shoulder drop-offs, undercutting that leaves the road surface weak and unstable, and flooded washes.

To emphasize its point, the NPS shared photos of two cars mired, including a Tesla part-buried at an alarming angle after its driver bypassed warnings to take a shortcut through the preserve. The driver and passenger were fine, but the car had to be abandoned and towed.

"Mojave National Preserve has the unique problem of impatient travelers on Interstate-15 or Interstate-40 diverting through the preserve to avoid traffic obstacles or delays," the NPS explained.

 "This tactic often will not work, as roads in the Preserve cannot handle heavy interstate traffic volumes – nor are they a better option to bypass climatic obstacle."

Weather conditions that are an inconvenience on the highway can cause major damage on smaller roads, so always watch out for hazard signs.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.