Jackson County officials are once again cautioning travelers to exercise caution when relying on GPS devices and mapping apps during winter storms. As driving conditions deteriorate, road closures may occur for safety reasons, prompting GPS-guided diversions onto perilous routes.
Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon has witnessed numerous incidents where drivers, including prohibited semi-trucks, blindly follow GPS directions onto high mountain roads like Dead Indian Memorial Road. This remote, steep, and narrow route, 1000’ higher than Siskiyou Pass, often leads to vehicles getting stuck, crashing, or requiring assistance.
Similarly, diversions onto Colestine Road and Tiller Trail Highway 227 have resulted in stranded motorists awaiting rescue by Jackson County Search and Rescue and County Road Department employees. These roads, unsuitable for winter travel, pose significant risks when ventured upon during storms.
Officials emphasize that GPS information may not reflect the true safety of a route during winter storms. Travelers are urged to exercise caution, especially when considering diversions onto rural, remote roads.
Only embark on such journeys if equipped with necessary skills, suitable vehicles, and emergency supplies, including tire chains, flashlights, warm clothing, blankets, water, and food.
Source: Jackson County