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Common distractions for holiday drivers

Thanksgiving is one of the most travel heavy holidays in America. Families use their extended weekend to get together to celebrate by driving to a relative’s house or going somewhere new for the holiday. The larger cities in California such as San Francisco, San Diego and Anaheim tend to be some of the most popular cities for families to travel to around this time of year.

Unfortunately, California’s popular cities also lead the state to being one of the deadliest states for Thanksgiving travel. Recent studies show that in the last couple of years, 9 percent of the nation's fatalities during this holiday were in the Golden State. While drunk driving continues to be the leading cause of traffic fatalities, distracted driving has also been increasing the death count in the last decade. If you plan on driving through the state during your holiday weekend, you should be aware of the potential distractions that can impair the driving ability of you and the thousands that will be on the road with you.

Phone navigation

Many motorists set their GPS up before hitting the road when they know they have a long drive ahead of them. Unfortunately, this can serve as a major visual distraction if you do not have it set up properly. You should mount and secure your phone properly on your dashboard without completely blocking your view of the road. California’s prohibition on holding a phone while driving does not mean you cannot use your phone GPS, it just means that you must have it voice operated without using your hands.

Those who do not mount their phones onto their dashboards tend to put it somewhere close like a cup holder or in the passenger seat if they are driving alone. This not only impacts how the phone’s sound comes out, but it can also direct the driver’s eyes off the road. There are times where the driver questions or does not clearly hear the instructions and checks the phone to see their path. If it is not on the dashboard, the motorist could spend extra valuable seconds that could result in a serious crash.

Talking with family members

Some believe that talking with a passenger can be just as distracting as texting or calling while driving. It can decrease reaction times and overall driver awareness. This makes it incredibly inconvenient for family members that must deal with each other on the road for hours. The children could misbehave while the spouse in the passenger seat is taking a nap, leaving the motorist to feel like they have to discipline the kids while driving.

If your children are restless, you can ease some of the stress off them by giving them an activity to do while you continue to drive. If you need to, alternate with your spouse over who is driving so that you can take turns getting some potential sleep and watching over the kids. Make sure to occasionally take some stops so you can move your legs and stretch your body after sitting in the car for a long period. It will make both you and the kids feel better.

Despite California’s efforts with the hands-free law, distracted driving continues to be a serious problem on the roads. The risks dramatically increase during the holiday weekends whether it is due to a phone or not. If your Thanksgiving plans are ruined thanks to a high impact motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, a personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation for any damages you and your family received.

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