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4 reasons not to eat and drive

| Feb 1, 2021 | Car Accidents

Modern life is full of conundrums. In a survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nearly half of the respondents agreed that eating and drinking while driving is a distraction and yet nearly all are guilty. Whether it is a travel mug of coffee on the way to an early shift or a burger for dinner during an evening commute, drivers almost always decide to snack while behind the wheel.

While drivers almost universally agree that distractions can lead to severe motor vehicle collisions, nearly every driver still allows themselves to be distracted. It is likely a combination of confidence in their driving ability and feeling that recognizing the danger somehow reduces the danger. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Here are four reasons that you should stop eating and driving with your very next commute.

  1. Eating will always remove a hand from your steering wheel – and sometimes both: Reaching into the passenger seat to grab your sandwich or into the center console to grab a handful of fries, by definition, removes your hand from the steering wheel. It is not uncommon for the distraction to go several steps further. Opening a bag of chips, for example, or removing the pickles from your cheeseburger, can pull both hands as well as your eyes from the task of driving.
  2. Even taking a sip of a drink can obscure your vision: Unfortunately, it’s never as simple as taking a sip of soda or coffee. There are generally hazardous factors that drivers don’t even recognize. An oversized cup can obscure vision. Opening and inserting a drinking straw removes focus from the road. Screwing or unscrewing the cap on a 20 oz soda bottle takes attention and dexterity. Additionally, if a driver spills the drink, he or she will immediately look away from the road to examine the mess.
  3. More people in the car only makes it worse: It’s bad enough when a driver is distracted by food in their own hands, but when there is a vehicle full of people all laughing, talking, eating and drinking, the distractions can only get worse. Friends have a way of offering food or drinks with can lead to visual, manual and cognitive distractions for a driver.
  4. Food clutter can also be distracting: After several trips to and from work, school or household errands, the inside of your car can quickly become filled with waste. From fast food bags to empty soda cans, these products can be distracting. Drivers might attempt a haphazard clean-up while behind the wheel. Even worse, the mess can migrate to the driver’s side of the vehicle obscuring the gas, brake and clutch pedals.

Dining and driving” has always been a problem. Unfortunately, much of the focus in recent years has centered on handheld electronic devices but eating while behind the wheel is just as dangerous as it has ever been. If you were injured by a negligent driver, it is wise to discuss your case with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney.

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