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Labor Day: Watch out, distracted driving more likely in nice weather

Labor Day: Watch out, distracted driving more likely in nice weather
The northbound 5 Freeway at the beginning of Labor Day weekend in 2012. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Raise your hand and take this pledge: I promise not to sip from my coffee cup or pick up my smartphone while driving this Labor Day weekend. Yeah, right.

With the nice weather, we're all likely to be more distracted behind the wheel -- and more likely to have a near-collision, a report released Tuesday says.

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Almost 4 million Californians are predicted to hit the road this weekend, most of them driving, and good weather could be a recipe for disaster. The National Safety Council estimates that 395 people will die in car crashes and an additional 42,300 will be injured in accidents between 6 p.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Monday.

Experts at Lytx, a San Diego-based company that specializes in driver-safety products, have analyzed billions of driver miles over a two-year period.

"Our data shows there are nearly double the number of near-collisions when the weather conditions are clear than when it's stormy," Del Lisk, the company's vice president of safety services, said in a statement Tuesday

So what should you do? Try not to engage in actions that will cause you to take your eyes off the road. No texting or getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol goes without saying. Lytx says the following behaviors are most likely to increase your odds of being in or causing a collision:

--eating and/or drinking while driving,
--using a hand-free device to talk on the phone, and
--using a smartphone or tablet while driving.

Now you know.

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