LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Don’t trust what a GPS navigation device tells you to do when trying to take a shortcut through the desert. That’s the message being put out by the Mojave National Preserve which was hit hard by flash flooding over the last couple of weeks.

Recent storms caused flooding that severely damaged both paved and unpaved roads in the preserve, located in San Bernardino County between I-15 and I-40 in southern California.

Preserve officials said that an old problem of drivers looking for shortcuts through the desert being directed by GPS devices onto closed roads.

This happened recently to a driver of a Tesla that became stuck, but uninjured, in a wash on North Kelbaker Road (photo below).

A driver following GPS directions bypassed closures and hazards and became stuck, but uninjured, in a wash on N Kelbaker Road. (Mohave National Preserve)

“Drivers seeking short cuts or bypasses on secondary paved roads will likely encounter closures or hazardous road conditions including rocks and gravel, pavement undercutting, steep shoulder drop-offs, and flooded washes,” the Preserve wrote on social media.

Even in perfect conditions people tend to speed through the preserve, wrote the Preserve. “A recent traffic safety emphasis patrol netted 337 speeders – all doing 15 MPH over the speed limit.”

Scene from a Nov 15, 2021 head-on fatality collision. Speeding was a factor in the loss of control and collision. (Photo: Mojave National Preserve)

Rangers will be patrolling this area daily and over the holiday weekend and ask everyone to “drive like a tortoise.”

For the latest road information, including openings and closures, visit https://www.nps.gov/moja/road-conditions.htm. Travelers should also visit the Caltrans website https://quickmap.dot.ca.gov for regional road conditions.