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Consumer Reports: Navigation Web Sites Are Misdirecting Drivers

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Internet can help travelers find directions and a map on their computer within minutes.

"I take a lot of trips and it's great," said Sal Saiya, an avid traveler.

Tester Helen Popkin checked out a

Consumer Reports

study of three mapping Web sites: MapQuest, Rand McNally and MapBlast! All three programs work the same - they let you find maps and directions by street address, city or zip code. MapBlast! also gives line drawings, which can be easier to follow.

But they are not perfect. As Popkin was leaving

Consumer Reports

headquarters, she found a problem with MapQuest.

"The directions say to go to Jones Street by turning right. But Jones Street is to the left," she said.

On another route, MapBlast! told her to go up a road marked "Emergency Use Only," but trying to go around the other way, she hit a dead end.

Rand McNally's directions were incorrect when

Consumer Reports

wanted directions from a home in River Vale, New Jersey.

"We typed in an address to start in New Jersey, but it had us instead starting here in Long Island," said Popkin.

Mapping sites are free, but taking an old-fashioned map with you on a trip is probably still a good idea.

© 2002 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All rights reserved.


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