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Sun, distractions can alter driving
bramblett wreck sunshine jd
Facing a bright late afternoon sun Wednesday, a driver waits to turn from Spot Road onto Doc Bramblett Road as a school bus passes. This photo was taken at about the same time of day as Monday’s fatal wreck. - photo by Jim Dean
A fatal wreck early this week northwest of Cumming has authorities again warning motorists about the dangers of driving while distracted.

Isabel Mora Zavala, 45, of Pilgrim Road was killed Monday afternoon when she turned left off Spot Road into the path of a northbound school bus on Doc Bramblett Road.

There were no passengers in Zavala’s 2006 Nissan Sentra.

Afternoon sun may have affected the vision of Zavala, who authorities have also said appeared to have been using her cell phone at the time of the wreck.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Huggins noted that the recent time change means sunlight may be lower and thus more likely to obscure vision during the afternoon rush hour.

Residents turned their clocks back an hour with the conclusion Sunday of daylight-saving time.

In addition to cell phones, Huggins said other common distractions include eating, reading and applying makeup.

“The main thing to do is drive and pay attention,” he said. “No matter where people are going in Forsyth County during rush hour, traffic is always very heavy.”

If they must answer their cell phones, Huggins said, drivers should pull over, stop and turn on their flashers.

Authorities did not charge the 47-year-old bus driver, Holly Ann Charles of Canton, in connection with the wreck.

Neither she nor her 16-year-old son, who was also on the bus, were injured.

Forsyth County Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said no one else was on Charles’ bus, which travels a route from Forsyth Central High School.

Charles, a 10-year veteran of the district, returned to work Tuesday afternoon, Caracciolo said.

Monday’s collision was the county’s seventh fatal wreck of the year and first since July. All the deaths have occurred since May, with four coming in June.

Authorities have said a common thread in each of the wrecks was “inattentiveness while driving.”

Such distractions can be magnified on Forsyth’s windy roads, most of which were not designed to handle the speed or volume of traffic they carry.

In addition, officials urge motorists to use extra caution when passing through any road construction zone, of which there are several throughout the county.