Residents of the tiny town of Ponca say that truckers who rely on their GPS are speeding through their town with their brakes on fire — if they manage not to crash along a steep two mile stretch of Ozark mountain highway.
“Several of them go through here with their brakes smoking or on fire,” said resident Austin Albers.
GPS Doesn’t Tell Drivers About Steep Drop, Tight Turns
Locals say that the problem is GPS.
On many GPS devices, Highway 43 near Ponca appears to be the shortest route to Clarksville. What GPS doesn’t tell unsuspecting truck drivers is that there is a steep 1300 foot drop in elevation along the highway, making it unsafe for trucks hauling more than 30,000 pounds. GPS also fails to mention that drivers will have to navigate through some hair-raising tight turns.
Said Mehdin Ibrahimovic of Hawkeye Transportation Services, “Years ago, you may have had drivers talking to each other about which routes to take from point A to point B instead of relying solely on GPS.”
Arkansas To Install Signs To Warn Drivers
In all, seven trucks have crashed on Highway 43 in the past two and a half years. On November 9, a driver hauling 40,000 pounds of Capri Sun crashed on a curve because “he thought it was just a shortcut. It just showed a straight line.” The driver wasn’t seriously hurt but his truck was a total loss.
All of the recent attention has inspired Arkansas transportation officials to put up signs along Highway 43 in the next month or two. The signs will read, “Crooked and steep next 3 miles. Drive with care.”