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Most dangerous days to get behind the wheel

During the next seven days, you will be exposed to countless holiday good wishes, numerous calorie-intensive indulgences and three of the deadliest driving days of the year.

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the past 25 years, if you get behind the wheel this upcoming weekend - especially between the hours of 3 p.m. to midnight - you will be driving not only on several of the most lethal days of the year, but also on the days of the week when there are the most fatalities and during the hours of the day when the most driving deaths occur.

When one examines the dates of the deadliest driving days of the year, the correlation between those dates and the holidays that many of us cherish becomes immediately apparent: Independence Day, Christmas, Labor Day weekend and New Year's Day.

It is during these holidays that many people become overstressed and often push themselves to the point of exhaustion. Others choose to celebrate the occasions by consuming a little too much holiday cheer in the form of alcohol.

The message is clear - if you're going to drive this holiday season, try to relax, get enough rest and definitely think before you drink - particularly during this incredibly deadly and dangerous upcoming weekend.

Deadliest days of the year to drive:

  1. July 4
  2. July 3
  3. Dec. 23
  4. Dec. 24
  5. Dec. 22
  6. Aug. 3
  7. Jan. 1
  8. Sept. 1
  9. Sept. 2
  10. Aug. 4

Deadliest days of the week:

  1. Saturday
  2. Sunday
  3. Friday
  4. Thursday
  5. Monday

Deadliest times of the day:

  1. 3 to 6 p.m.
  2. 6 to 9 p.m.
  3. 9 p.m. to midnight
  4. Noon to 3 p.m.
  5. Midnight to 3 a.m.

Michelle Groh-Gordy is the owner of InterActive! Traffic School Online at , and writes a syndicated weekly column on driving for the publications of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.