When you hear distracted driving, your mind probably turns to cell phones. We are constantly told that we should not text and drive. But we really need to be told to not “sip and drive” or “take a bite and drive.”
The National Highway Association reported that eating or drinking while driving could increase your chances of having an accident by 80 percent. Lytx reported that drivers who are eating are drinking are 3.6 times more likely to be in a car crash than drivers who are not paying attention to the road. What does this mean for your driving?
Why is eating and drinking while driving dangerous?
Consuming food or beverages while driving decreases road safety by:
- Occupying your hands.When you eat or drink, you must take at least one of your hands off of the wheel. This makes it harder for you to react to turns on the road, or unforeseen objects that you need to quickly react to.
- Taking your focus from the road. Food and drink distracts you from the driving process. It forces you to concentrate on opening wrappers or wiping away spills instead of the situation at hand.
- Taking your eyes off of the road. To successfully eat or drink, you need to glance away from the road to grab the item or pick up a dropped piece of food. Even a quick glance can make you miss a car that merges in front of you, an animal that dashes into the street or a stop sign.
What is the most dangerous item to consume?
Surprisingly, out of the top 10 most dangerous foods and drinks to consume while driving, coffee tops the list. A lot of drivers think that the caffeine will make them a more alert, safer driver – especially on long road trips. Coffee may keep you awake, but it will also distract you. Coffee is easily spilled, and sloshes out of travel mugs. The hot beverage can cause burns, or stains that drivers may naturally try to remove as soon as they occur.
Evaluate your driving habits
70 percent of drivers report that they consume food while driving. 83 percent of drivers say that they drink beverages while driving. If you currently fall within these majorities, rethink your driving habits.
While you are trying to multitask in the car, you are putting yourself and others around you at risk. During a long car ride, stop at a rest stop to eat a quick meal before getting back on the road. Save your morning coffee until you are in the office before taking a sip. It is better to pull over and take a few extra minutes to reach your destination than to be in an accident on your way there.
If you are injured due to a distracted driver’s actions, consider contacting an attorney who can represent your interests, and help you gain compensation for your losses.