Eating while driving is a distraction that poses serious safety risks on the road, and distracted driving causes numerous car accidents every year. 

Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of eating and driving at the same time.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is an activity that takes your attention off the road for any portion of time. This can include texting, talking on the phone, chatting with passengers, changing the music, fiddling with GPS directions, eating and drinking, and more. Any non-driving activity is a potential distraction that could lead to a crash.

Eating while driving is an unsafe action that could have deadly outcomes. Here are some statistics surrounding this activity provided by the NHTSA

  • Those who eat and drive increase the risk of an accident by 80 percent.
  • While consuming food, the likelihood of near-miss crashes increases by 39 percent.
  • A driver’s reaction speed is lowered by 44 percent while eating.

The Dangers of Eating While Driving

Three common types of distractions can impair a driver’s ability to focus on the road, including visual, manual, and cognitive diversions. Eating while driving is especially threatening because it can encompass all three of these. Consider the following reasons to not eat behind the wheel:

  1. Eating takes your hands off the wheel – Unwrapping food packaging or using napkins requires you to take one or both hands off the wheel. Letting go of the steering wheel poses a dangerous risk to yourself, your passengers, and the other drivers on the road.
  2. Eating and drinking can obstruct your vision – As you gulp a drink or take a big bite of food, your vision can be obstructed for several seconds. Taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds while traveling at 55 miles per hour is essentially driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded.
  3. Eating can cause cognitive distractions that take your mind off the road – Enjoying a meal by yourself or with friends is an activity that can easily distract your mind from operating the vehicle. It can be tough to concentrate on the cars around you when your mind is elsewhere.
  4. The clutter from food poses a hazard – It’s challenging to eat in a car without making a mess. Trying to gather up trash, clean up spills, or wipe down the steering wheel can pose a severe hazard.

Tips to Prevent Eating While Driving

Consuming food while driving can be very convenient, but the convenience is not worth the risk. To prevent the need to eat on the road, employ the following tips:

  • Plan accordingly so that you can eat before you leave the house.
  • Don’t regularly keep snacks and drinks in your vehicle.
  • Pull into a parking lot area to eat if you need some sustenance while driving.

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton has spent over 25 years assisting Utah citizens after motor vehicle accidents, so we can give you the help you need after a collision caused by eating while driving. Our accident attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve and help you handle the aftermath of your accident.

We have offices in Orem, Provo, Saratoga Springs, and West Jordan, Utah. Reach out today for your free case evaluation.