Distracted driving causes thousands of automobile accidents every year in the United States. Talking on cell phones, texting while driving, even sending snapchats and videos while in a moving vehicle are all extremely dangerous and everyone should try to avoid these bad habits.
There is another activity that practically everyone does while driving, but not many people consider dangerous-eating and drinking while driving. Whether it’s your morning coffee or the burger and fries from the drive-thru, consuming food and beverages while driving is very distracting.
In fact, if you’ve been in an accident caused by a distracted driver, our Bay Area car injury attorney can help you recover compensation from the other driver on the grounds of negligence. Every driver owes a duty of care to other drivers on the road and distracted driving is considered a failure of this duty.
The Dangers of Eating and Drinking While Driving
You know the old saying, keep both hands on the wheel. While you’re driving and eating or drinking, one or both hands are off the wheel and handling your food instead. Even if it’s just a few seconds while you’re opening a wrapper or drink container is enough to cause an accident.
Whether you realize it or not, while you’re fussing with food, you’re not only taking your hands off the wheel, but you’re also taking your eyes off the road. Imagine looking down as your fast food bag and the driver in front of you has to make a sudden stop. You don’t notice until it’s already too late.
Lastly, when your mind is focused on your meal or your favorite beverage you can’t give your entire focus to the task at hand-keeping yourself and others safe. Your reaction times will be slower and you will be less aware of your surroundings, and you might have an accident.
How Common are Eating-Driving Accidents?
A recent survey on distracted driving found that over 50 percent of respondents admitted to eating while driving, but experts believe this is an underestimate. Studies show that the chance of a crash happening at any given time increased up to 8 times while a driver was reaching for food or beverages.
Distracted driving takes an average of 8 peoples’ lives every single day in the United States, and causes thousands of accidents every year. Between 2012 and 2019, over 26,000 were killed in auto accidents as a result of distracted driving, over 3000 lives in 2020 alone.
How to Prevent Eating and Drinking Distracted Driving
The simplest way to avoid distracted driving while eating and drinking is to not do it. Eat or drink before you leave the house, or if you do have to eat on the go, pull over to a safe location like a rest stop or parking lot.
Make a rule of not eating or drinking inside your car, period. Not only will you completely avoid the dangers of distracted driving, but your car will stay cleaner and neater longer without food dropping all over the place and garbage collecting from empty packages, an added bonus.
If you feel you must drink while driving, try to make it a habit of only opening packages while you’re completely stopped at a red light. This doesn’t mean you take your focus off driving, but at least you will be at a full stop and less likely to get in an accident.