South Florida GPS traps: circles on 595, accidental Everglades trips & more

The car's navigation device veered you off the beaten track into the twilight zones of the Everglades or Weston's winding roads.

It directs you to exit off a ramp along construction-jammed Interstate 595 and the ramp is closed.

Or it sees you want to go to Palm Beach State College but sends you to Florida Atlantic University instead.

Where does that leave you? Lost in South Florida!

For some commuters, car navigation systems have become like the unwelcome back-seat driver, dictating commands that are sometimes wrong. So they turn to smartphone navigation apps, which may also trip them up.

A 2012 study released in January by auto research firm J.D. Power and Associates found that navigation system satisfaction has declined from 2011 "as owners are frustrated by the complexity of menu systems, voice control commands and inputting destinations.''

At least one auto industry spokesman thinks these navigation assistance devices — whether verbal, on-screen or built-in global positioning systems — are more helpful than annoying.

"Automakers are always working to make sure these navigation devices are as up to date as possible,'' said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade industry group in Washington, D.C.

Wade said that when he misses his exit or turn, his navigation system tells him it's "recalculating," as it prepares another route for him to take. "I could still focus on the road and [it] allowed me to get to where I needed to go."

 Here are some GPS travail tales from South Floridians.

Which Boca campus?

Sharon Geltner, a business analyst with the Palm Beach State College Small Business Development Center, hears it all the time.

Some visitors who use their car's navigation system to find the center frequently pull up to another campus: Florida Atlantic University.

"It's real tricky,'' Geltner says. "They end up at the FAU campus at a similarly named building and we don't want that to happen."

Geltner thinks the addition of new buildings on both campuses in recent years "drives the GPS crazy."

"It means the campuses are growing, but we want people to be able to get here."

So Geltner and her staff are proactive, making sure incoming visitors receive detailed phone or emailed directions to her school.

"Like the guys in the airport guiding the planes, that's what we are doing," added Geltner.

Going in circles on 595

Melanie Williams gave up on using her Nissan pickup truck's GPS system to get around South Florida.