Most people readily agree that certain activities are distracting for drivers and can result in deadly vehicle collisions. Texting, reading and personal grooming all tend to be universally discouraged. A driver who chooses to eat or drink while behind the wheel is such a common sight, however, that many people do not realize what a dangerous activity it actually is. From sipping coffee on the way to an early class to eating dinner after a long shift at work, dining and driving is an activity that should be avoided.
While it is generally a bad idea, there are four specific reasons that dining and driving can represent a distraction for most drivers:
- Manual food distractions: Often, eating will require a driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel for a portion of the task. Some foods might even require the driver to use both hands to take a bite. Additionally, food or condiments might be spilled, causing the driver to look away from the road to locate the mess and try to clean it up.
- Drinking convenience: Even though a vehicle often comes equipped with numerous drink holders, this can still be a distracting action. From removing a hand from the wheel to grab the item to looking away from the road to unscrew a lid, drivers are distracted by this common activity.
- Food and passengers: Passengers can be distracting under even the best circumstances. Unfortunately, when the group is sharing food, it can create a dangerous situation for even an experienced driver. From the sights and sounds to passengers who try to share food with a driver, this activity can result in terrible collisions.
- Eyes on the clutter: Whether they have spilled food and try to clean it up while behind the wheel, or they are attempting to clean up a passenger’s mess before getting home, clutter in a vehicle can be a serious distraction to drivers. Additionally, some clutter might roll forward in the cabin only to become jammed under the gas, brake or clutch preventing a driver from properly reacting to traffic.
Even though modern conveniences seem geared toward letting a driver stay behind the wheel at all times, it is wise to ignore certain activities. From drive-thru restaurants to numerous cup-holders within easy reach, it might feel like drivers are encouraged to eat and drink while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, even this common activity can lead to devastating motor vehicle collisions resulting in serious injuries.