By Macy Jenkins

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — Driving in the winter weather can be quite challenging and sometimes dangerous. The California Highway Patrol says, in those conditions, your GPS can lead you to trouble.

“I use my GPS to kind of look at my route,” said Frank Solander. “That’s important because then you know where you’re going.”

CHP warns drivers many map apps don’t have the latest up-to-date closures, making them not the most reliable tools.

“You head to a road that’s not open, depending on the backlog, you may be stuck there until we can clear that road out and you can turn around,” said officer Mike Steele, CHP Grass Valley.

Steele recounted a call he got four years ago, a scary moment for a Colfax woman on the road.

“She needed to go to the hospital,” he said. “She was having a medical emergency but she tried to go herself, and it took her to an unidentified ditch, out in the middle of nowhere, not even remotely on the path!”

He says in severe weather conditions; some roads become impassable. And the only way to know where to go is by checking in with Caltrans.

“It’s [an app] called Caltrans QuickMap,” Steele said. “It’ll tell you where all the closures are. It’ll tell you the red, little bit of traffic here, little bit of traffic here.”

And you can find incident information from CHP.

“If you know you’re going to be on that route, it’s a good thing to open this app up before you leave and say, ‘Well, that road is closed, I can’t go that way,’ and find an alternative route,” Steele said.

Solander says when the weather turns white, he makes sure he’s got a physical map and a good idea of where he’s going.

“Love technology, but you know what you gotta be smarter than the phone or you will get in trouble,” he said.

Officer Steele says if you do get stranded, you should have food, water, and blankets in the car.

And even though he knows the area, he keeps a Thomas Guide in the back seat.


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