Year’s most dangerous day for drivers looming

Think twice about doing your holiday shopping Wednesday, or at least stay off the road that day.

According to an Allstate Insurance Co. review of claims over the past four years, more accidents are reported on Dec. 15 than on any other day of the year, making it the most dangerous day for California drivers.

“We’re not certain why, but it could be attributed to weather, as you consider snow in the North, rain in the South, high winds in the Central Valley,”

Allstate spokesperson Jim Klapthor said. “Similarly, holiday traffic and shopping distractions could play a role.”

The average daily number of auto insurance claims during the rest of the year is 435, but on Dec. 15 the daily average jumps to 539 — a 23 percent increase. Klapthor said the fourth worst day of the year is just three days later on Dec. 18, when the average number of claims is 523 over the past four years. The second-most dangerous day was Valentine’s Day, and the third was Oct. 13.

Klapthor said these numbers may not be reflected in local police or public safety records, as insurance claims are not necessarily ticketed incidents.

“It helps to reinforce that important message that accidents on the date we’re looking at may or may not be moving violations that appear on a police report,” Klapthor said. “It could just be a parking-lot collision or backing up into a relative’s car in the driveway, so they wouldn’t call the police but they may report damage to their insurance company.”

While auto collisions are mostly accidental, Allstate has three basic tips to help people stay clear from crashes: first, eliminate distractions by choosing a radio station or song before putting the car in gear; second, drive according to the conditions, giving other cars ample space, especially when it is raining, snowing or during rush hour; and third, since holiday celebrations are abundant at this time of year, Klapthor said motorists need to remember, “Don’t take the party on the road.”

“We think it’s important year-round to eliminate distractions behind the wheel and to understand that while we may not be distracted, another driver may be,” he said. “This makes it even more important for us to eliminate those distractions and be cautious of other drivers.”

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