Eating While Driving…Not a Good Combination

Eating While Driving…Not a Good Combination

In today’s hurried society, it is commonplace to do everything on the move. We talk on the phone, plan out the day, put on makeup, and even have breakfast or lunch while driving. Many of us face a tight work schedule, and the time we spend commuting often seems to be the best time for getting in a bit of sustenance. Many restaurant franchises realize this, which is why many of them have a drive-thru to allow you to order and pick up a quick meal without having to leave your vehicle.

Some Statistics

Eating while driving has become incredibly common among drivers today. One study indicated that over 70% of drivers eat while on the road. Those who drink beverages behind the wheel are even more prevalent at 83%.

Another study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated this behavior is dangerous. They calculated that the odds of an accident increase by about 80% when the driver is eating, with 65% of near miss accidents occurring as a result of the driver fumbling about with food and beverage items in the car.

Dangerous Foods

So what is it that makes eating and drinking on the go so dangerous?

Like any other activity, driving requires constant attention to be done safely. This means that a driver’s focus should be on the action of driving, with eyes on the road and senses alert to what is going on around the vehicle. Any activity that distracts your attention from driving immediately puts you at risk since an accident can occur very quickly when you’re traveling at high speeds.

While it is not as dangerous as other distractions, such as texting, eating while driving can still pull your attention from the road, especially if the food item is messy, difficult to manage, or contained in difficult-to-open packaging. Some of the highest-risk food items include:

  • Hamburgers
  • Chili
  • Soups
  • Tacos
  • Anything with barbecue sauce
  • Donuts
  • Chocolate
  • Soda

Studies indicate that the most dangerous item of all is coffee, since it has a tendency to spill when you’re going around sharp turns or over bumps in the road. The hot liquid can slosh onto seats, people, surfaces in the car, etc., making it both messy and—given its hot temperatures—dangerous.

Eating Safely

Ultimately, the best time and place to eat is outside the vehicle. Instead of going through the drive-thru, eat in or simply take your order to a place where you can sit and focus on your meal.

However, this is often easier said than done. Given the busy schedules that so many of us have, eating in the car might be unavoidable. If this is the case, it is best to avoid anything that can spill, burst, foam, or coat your fingers with grease or sauce.

Another helpful solution is to invest in safe driving technology. At Safe Drive Systems, we offer collision-avoidance technology that gives you advance warning of danger when driving. This can help make up for reduced reaction time that often results from eating on the go. For more information on what we have to offer, contact us today.