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Summer road trippers peeved by bad driving and gas prices

Prices over $4 per gallon, but dropping, AAA says
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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As the mercury rises Auburn-area residents say they plan on heading out on the highway for road trips, but gas prices and unsafe drivers remain a concern. California Highway Patrol officers say there are precautions drivers can take to remain safe during summer travel. AAA of Northern California said in a press release earlier this week that gas is over $4 a gallon, but motorists are seeing some relief at the pump that could make summer travel a little more enjoyable. Tina Minyard, 61, of Applegate, said a long road trip with her travel trailer may be in her future, but certain things do peeve her on the road. ?We are thinking of going to Canada. People don?t watch out for people with trailers. They just kind of cut in front of them. It?s hard to stop sometimes,? Minyard said. ?Besides that, gas prices.? Gas prices are down about three cents throughout Northern California, according to AAA of Northern California, but the average price is still $4.20 a gallon for regular, unleaded gasoline. With summer being a peak time for travel, Officer David Martinez, spokesperson for the Auburn California Highway Patrol based in Newcastle, said people can expect the roads to be crowded. He said drivers need to remember that during summer holidays, like Memorial Day, it takes longer to get to a given destination. With a large amount of people on the road, including more drunken drivers, Martinez said Memorial Day and other holidays are considered maximum enforcement periods. ?The biggest things would be wherever they go on their destination to allow enough time to get there,? Martinez said. Along with the consequences distracted driving can have on safety, Martinez said picking up the phone while driving also comes with the added consequence of a possible ticket. Last month the highway patrol wrote 111 cell phone tickets in Auburn, and 2,384 cell phones tickets and 154 texting tickets in the Greater Sacramento area, he said. ?Distracted driving is such a huge deal. Stay off your cell phones,? Martinez said. ?It?s not worth it.? According to the most recent statistics available from the California Highway Patrol, 17 people died as a result of vehicle collisions on Memorial Day weekend in 2010. Martinez said that?s why it?s vital people wear their seat belts and follow other traffic safety laws. Ashley Williams, 22, of Auburn, said she travels to San Francisco often and often comes into contact with dangerous drivers. ?I drive a lot in the city and people will start getting over in the lane before they signal to get over,? Williams said. Tiffany Maggio, 21, of Auburn, agreed that her biggest pet peeve is drivers making unsafe decisions. ?People cutting you off because they forget they are turning,? Maggio said. Martinez said these types of situations only serve to underscore how critical it is for motorists to eliminate the need to rush and give themselves plenty of time to get to their holiday travel destination. ?There is going to be a lot of traffic,? Martinez said. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.