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Tips to prevent distracted driving

There's no reason for anyone to drive while distracted in California. Motorists should have their eyes on the roadway 100 percent of the time -- no excuses -- but this may be easier said than done. What if you're sleepy? What if you have a friend in the car with you and he or she spills a drink? Sometimes, it's difficult to stay fully focused on the roadway, but if you want to stay attentive and prevent an unnecessary accident, you'll follow each piece of advice below:

-- Turn your phone off, put it out of arm's reach and never use it while operating your car. If you're riding as a passenger, do your friend or family member a favor and take the phone away from him or her. Don't be shy to stand up for your safety in this regard.

-- Don't call or text with friends or family members who you know happen to be driving.

-- Use an app that auto-replies to text messages to inform people that you're driving and you'll return the call soon.

-- When using GPS, mount your phone in an easily visible place in your car, but put the address into your device before starting the engine.

-- Educate your family members about the risks of distracted driving, particularly the dangers of using a cellphone while driving. Remember: Texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving in many cases.

-- Ask a passenger to help you operate your phone while you're driving, or pull over to the side of the road if it's necessary to send a text message or make a call.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more things you can do to avoid distracted driving, but probably the best thing you can do is to use your common sense. If it takes your attention away from the road and traffic around you, don't do something you would later regret. If you cause an accident or injuries while distracted, you could be financially liable for all the injuries and damages you cause: You could even go to prison.

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