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Why Enjoying a Meal at the Wheel is a Dangerous Choice

Why Enjoying a Meal at the Wheel Is a Dangerous Choice

According to The Zebra, approximately six out of every 10 drivers in the United States admit to eating while driving at least occasionally.

Wolfing down a sandwich or some French fries while you are behind the wheel may seem safe because, unlike texting while driving, you’re able to keep your eyes on the road. But this false comparison can lead drivers to minimize the dangers of eating behind the wheel.

No matter what you consume on the road, you are still driving while distracted and thus at a greater risk of causing a collision. More than 3,000 motorists died in both 2020 and 2021 due to traffic accidents caused by distracted driving.

There are multiple reasons why eating while driving is just as dangerous as other forms of distracted driving.

Your Attention Is Not Focused on the Task of Driving

Eating and drinking take a surprising amount of concentration. As you move along the road, your focus is split between controlling your vehicle and not spilling your food or beverage. Your concentration skews even more if you are holding a hot liquid or messy food item or wearing clothing you do not want to ruin.

Dividing your attention in this manner can slow your reaction time in the event of an emergency or sudden roadway hazard. These few moments can mean the difference between safely avoiding a collision or crashing into another person.

At Least One Hand Is Not on the Steering Wheel

While you are holding a burger or cup of coffee, that hand cannot help you control your vehicle. If you hit a sudden bump or lose control on a slippery road, you would need to decide whether to try to control your car with one hand or free your other.

Few people can make such a decision quickly and safely. Instead, you will either lose control of the vehicle and wreck or spill whatever is in your hand, causing further distraction.

The only way to ensure that you are in the best position to maintain control over your vehicle regardless of road conditions is to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times.

Your Eyes Are Not Always on the Road

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that when driving 55 miles per hour, you travel the length of a football field in approximately five seconds. That leaves you precious little time to react to sudden dangers.

Taking your eyes off the road for any reason and for any length of time increases your chances of colliding with a hazard you do not see — even if you are just cracking open a soda can or reaching for another handful of chips.

Eat When and Where It Is Safe to Do So

If you must eat while on the road, commit to not doing so while your vehicle is in motion. Pull over or wait until you come to a complete stop before taking a bite or sip. You can also reduce your risk of distraction by choosing foods and drinks that are not hot and are unlikely to spill.

To learn more about distracted driving and the legal avenues for recovering compensation after being made the victim of such behavior, consult a qualified personal injury attorney.

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