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.
"It wasn't very reliable," said Williams, who believes the culprit was a combination of bad weather and the proliferation of so many vehicle GPS devices on the road. "It kept saying 'lost satellite signal' more than it got me to places."
So the Fort Lauderdale housekeeper now uses her Android smartphone's navigation app.
Williams said the app works great for road trips to Naples and Orlando but it trips up in greater Fort Lauderdale, specifically around construction zones along Interstate 595.
"It tells me to take an exit and tells me this route will take me there and then 'sorry, GPS signal lost.' I-595 is filled with all this new construction and your GPS doesn't help you. [The app] doesn't recognize the construction."
And that has left her missing exits or having to get on and off 595 to reposition herself to catch her satellite signal.
"So I end up going in circles and using up gas,'' she said. "Sometimes, you have to follow your nose, and use your own intuition."
It's Northeast, not Nebraska
Dan Marino, a Hollywood graphic designer (not the famous former Dolphins player), has had to shush or ignore his Mazda Tribute's navigation system over the years.
Whenever he fed the system any address with a Northeast roadway, it had something else in mind. His GPS hears "NE" and thinks it's Nebraska.
"Take a right on Nebraska 122nd Street. It is idiotic!" Marino said. "You get used to it after a while. It's one of those quirky things."
Marino said he has reported the issue to his vehicle's navigation system manufacturer, to no avail. So he put his car's mapping device in the back seat literally. He now prefers Google Maps on his Apple iPhone for driving directions.
Now it's the app's turn
Pastor Luis Valladares was trying to get to The Joseph V. Conte Facility Conte Facility in Pompano Beach to visit someone earlier this year. So he entered the address on Google Maps on his Apple iPhone 5 and followed the directions in his Ford F-150.
"And since I don't know the area, I kept driving and driving and it kept taking me to smaller and smaller roads,'' recalled Valladares, a Hollywood resident who services at First Baptist Church of Cooper City.
Valladares who lives in Hollywood. "I kept seeing the houses and Wilton Manors and I thought, it's really weird that they would have a jail here, and then it said, 'You have arrived'…
"I am looking at this house in front of me and thinking, 'this is definitely not a jail.' "
When he looked at the map, it read the correct address. "Even though I was in the wrong place, the app was telling me I was in the right place."
Valladares suspected that the app interpreted NW as NE, which explained why he was in a sleepy Wilton Manors neighborhood instead of in Pompano Beach.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4939
Top SoFla searches
A sampling of the top-searched places for directions in South Florida in March, according to MapQuest. In no particular order, they are:
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Miami International Airport
Palm Beach International Airport
Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel
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