British Columbia RCMP are encouraging holiday travellers to use common sense before blindly following their global positioning system, especially in winter conditions.

Police in Cranbrook say they responded to a distress call from a family of four whose vehicle had slid off a snow-covered forest service road Thursday afternoon, about 45 kilometres outside the city.

Const. Katie Forgeron says the family, which was en route from Calgary to San Francisco, had used GPS to navigate down the unplowed service road before running into trouble.

"I'm not sure why they didn't turn around when the snow didn't get any shallower or there were no other vehicle tracks on the road, but they ended up in the ditch in the side of the road," she said. 

Forgeron says the father walked for about an hour before he was able to find cell reception to call for help.

Officers located the stranded family shortly before nightfall and pulled their vehicle out of the ditch with a winch before sending them on their way.

Forgeron says when it comes to winter travel, drivers should abandon the advice of poet Robert Frost and not take the road less travelled.

"GPSs are not infallible, they are not aware of conditions. Take the route that's plowed, take the route other people are travelling on."

With files from Kamil Karamali