Most of us are quite familiar with the typical culprits of distracted driving, such as texting or talking on a cell phone. But is eating dangerous while you are at the wheel of a vehicle?
On the surface, you might not think so. A quick bite of a burger or a sip of a soft drink does not really seem to be an act that would imperil you or other drivers. Nevertheless, it’s definitely not advisable.
Eating and driving do not mix
There are three broad categories of distractions for drivers – cognitive, when your attention is not wholly on driving; visual, when you are gazing elsewhere instead of at the road; and manual, when you use your hands for something besides steering the vehicle.
Eating usually involves these distractions to some degree. If you are busy opening a container, fiddling with a lid, juggling a spoon or desperately trying to prevent liquid from sloshing messily out of a cup onto your clothes, then you are endangering yourself as well as other drivers.
The few seconds when you are not concentrating 100% on driving can ultimately prove deadly.
Other dangers exist related to eating and driving. Something can happen in an instant that you might never have expected. For example, you could start choking on a mouthful of food. That can be catastrophic. What would you do?
Or maybe you are downing a steaming beverage like coffee. If it suddenly spills all over your hands, you might reflexively let go of the wheel because you sustained a painful burn. Your car can go careening out of control.
Which foods are most unacceptable to eat while driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiled a list of items to stay away from when you are at the wheel. They include things like fried chicken, chocolate and barbecue, plus the aforementioned coffee. Anything drippy, greasy or melty is off-limits.
If you are hurt in an accident caused by a distracted driver
Distracted driving caused by eating or other activities is not harmless. Innocent people can be injured or worse. Obtain advice about what recourse you may have if someone else causes an accident.