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The most dangerous driving day of the year

12/15/2010, 6:19 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Today is the most dangerous driving day of the year in California, according to research by a major insurance company.

Allstate Insurance Company's review of four years of insurance claims shows that more Californians crash their cars on Dec. 15 than any other day of the year. The number of accident claims that day jumps up 23 percent from the daily average.

"This spike in crashes could be related to weather, holiday shopping or other distractions,'' said Robert Feldman, an Allstate agency owner in Los Angeles. "What's important for drivers is that we stay focused while at the wheel whether on the highway or in the driveway--on Dec. 15 and every day of the year.''

The top five days for California car accident claims are Dec. 15, Feb. 14, Oct. 13, Dec. 18 and Sept. 5, in that order, according to the insurer.

Allstate advises drivers to eliminate distractions by turning off cell phones and placing holiday packages in the trunk, so that they don't shift around inside the vehicle. Slowing down in reaction to rain and high winds is another safety tip. And Christmas cheer has no place behind the wheel, so drivers should plan ahead and designate a sober driver, call a cab or use public transportation when drinking, reminds the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.