If you’re like most Californians on-the-go, you use your car to get just about everywhere—and since we spend so much time in our vehicles, we’ve adjusted our lifestyles to multi-task while driving.

While it is tempting to email, text, eat, dance, talk, apply makeup, and more while driving, it’s even more essential to refrain from these kinds of activities while you drive. Why? Safety. It should be the #1 priority for everyone on the road.

California is known for extreme traffic, hectic commutes, and outrageous driving habits, but we can help the Golden State with these 5 Tips for Safe Road Travel: California-Style

#5 – Preplan your destination

Preplanning helps ensure your safety because you won’t be fumbling with maps, GPS devices, cell phones, or other electronics while driving. Use of these devices can often lead to injury accidents, so preplan to avoid using them while en route.

This California visitor says her GPS device caused her to drive onto train tracks complete with an oncoming train which sped toward her just before she abandoned her vehicle. Moments later, the train collided into her car. It’s important to know your route ahead of time, if possible.

Enter your destination’s address in your GPS device prior to leaving to ensure you’re not entering addresses while driving (it is right up there with texting and driving). Also, try to be familiar with your route so you don’t have to take drastic turns or sudden stops.

Preplanning means allowing for enough time to stop for food. Eat-and-go habits can often cause car accidents since there’s an overload of multi-tasking involved. Ketchup packets, using your blinker, adjusting the radio, stopping, turning—it’s just too much when you’re supposed to concentrate on one thing only: driving. So preplan for a safe, fun, comfortable drive!

#4 – Make sure to invest in the upkeep of your vehicle

Oil changes, rotating tires, brake checks, radiator fluid, and other routine maintenance on your vehicle are essential to keep safe on the road. Nothing is worse than having to suddenly pull over for a smoking radiator or a flat tire. Plus, did you know that pulling over to the side of the road increases your chance of a car accident?

This woman was recently killed in the Los Angeles area after she was rear-ended on the I-405 San Diego freeway after pulling over for car trouble.

Keep yourself safe as a driver and pedestrian by avoiding car trouble. Keep a log of your vehicle records and maintain your vehicle to avoid possible car accidents due to car trouble.

#3 – For long trips, take turns driving

Fatigue can cause car accidents since your reaction time is reduced when you’re tired—so don’t risk it. If you’re headed for a long road trip, have someone accompany you so you can take turns driving. Some of the worst fatigue driving cases have led to injury accidents, permanent disfigurements as a result of the car accident, and even wrongful death.

This California injury accident made national news as a San Diego cab driver slammed into a group of partygoers after claiming he fell asleep at the wheel. The car accident injured a reported 37 pedestrians, including one woman who almost lost her leg.

#2 – Never allow drugs or alcohol to influence your driving

Even one drink can be too much when you are driving. And, when coupled with any kind of drug, whether recreational or not, driving under the influence is illegal, irresponsible, and against the law.

A Temecula mother, pictured left just after the injury accident, allegedly chugged 12 beers before picking up her daughter at school. The woman was speeding up to 100 mph according to authorities before she got into a car accident, killing her daughter instantly after she was ejected from the vehicle.

#1 – Go Hands-Free

Bluetooth integration is so easy nowadays. From integrated in-cabin solutions, to nifty headsets that are free of annoying cords, going hands-free is easier than ever.

While it’s easy to remind Californians how easy it is to go hands-free, Heidi Montag’s surgeon was reported to have texted just before he crashed his vehicle last year in August, according to People magazine.

Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 18% were using a cell phone as a distraction to their driving, according to the NHTSA. And, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

Distracted driving is an epidemic. Please—don’t be a statistic. California, let’s be safe on the road. Share these tips with your favorite Californians by using Twitter hashtag #safedriving and don’t forget to share with us on Twitter @MichaelPines.

For more information on distracted driving, go to:

http://www.distraction.gov/

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