Officials warn drivers not to trust GPS apps during spring flooding season

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:29 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Spring flooding has law enforcement urging drivers not put all of your trust in GPS apps so you don’t end up surrounded by or in those flood waters.

Conditions change hour-by-hour during spring flooding, meaning one day a road may be open, the next it’s under water which makes it hard for navigation apps to keep up and give you accurate directions.

“If you’re traveling from a town to a town and it’s two, three, four counties away, stay on those major highways. Don’t try to get around on those county roads, township roads. It might be a little quicker at times, but this time of year, you just don’t know what those conditions are especially on those local roadways,” ND Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind said.

And that’s advice we confirmed first-hand Wednesday afternoon.

“While my GPS did alert me that there is a flood warning on my route from County Road 20 just outside of Harwood toward Mapleton, it did not tell me there would be overland flooding, washing out this road, let alone that it was closed and I would need to detour to my destination,” our Crime and Safety Reporter Bailey Hurley explained.

“GPS is not a fail-safe. There are going to be mistakes made. We see that in the winter, we’re going to see that in the summer months as well. They’re trying to route you the fastest way to get some place and they might not always take into consideration the information being shared by local law enforcement or highway departments,” Niewind said.

Niewind adds before you hit the road, do your research by checking out DOT and county road maps for any new closures. He urges if you see water on the road, don’t test your luck.

“Don’t drive through that water because you have no idea how deep it’s going to be, how long it’s going to be if there’s a washout in the roadway,” he said.