We’ve all done it at one time or another. Whether you sipped on a Starbucks, nibbled on nachos or chowed down on a chicken sandwich, at some point, everyone with a license has eaten or drunk something while tooling down the road.

But is it safe? New information indicates that this is just another form of distracted driving that poses safety risks to ourselves and others.

Part of the problem is that eating while driving tends to involve more than one type of distraction. The three major distractions for drivers are visual, manual and cognitive. When drivers eat and drink behind the wheel, at least one hand is involved and drivers’ eyes may stray from the road to focus on their food or beverages. This increases the risk of accidents.

Below are some statistics that bear this out.

  • Exxon Mobil’s study of 1,000 drivers showed that 83 percent drink a beverage while driving and 70 percent snack or consume meals.
  • In 2014, Lytx determined that drivers who eat or drink behind the wheel have a 3.6 greater crash risk than those who focus on the task at hand.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) alleges that eating while driving ups the risk of accidents as much as 80 percent. They also concluded that 65 percent of near-miss collisions stem from drivers who are distracted by food or beverages.

The NHTSA lists the most dangerous foods to consume while driving, which include the following:

  • Chocolate
  • Soft drinks
  • Doughnuts
  • Fried chicken
  • BBQ
  • Hamburgers
  • Chili
  • Tacos
  • Soup
  • Coffee

It’s better to pull over and consume your food or beverage or enjoy it once you get to your destination.

If you suspect that a driver distracted by eating or drinking was at fault in your accident, voice your concerns and make sure that your Houston personal injury attorney is aware of this development.

Source: DecideToDrive.org, “Eating While Driving,” accessed Feb. 23, 2018