Texting and driving gets a lot of press in Georgia and across the United States these days, as it should. The dangers are well-documented, and the fatalities keep climbing. However, some studies show that it could be just as dangerous to eat while driving.
According to DriversEd.com, people who are eating engage in a lot of the same dangerous driving behaviors as texting, including taking the eyes off the road and taking one or both hands off the steering wheel for seconds at a time. After all, it is not easy to unwrap a burger one-handed or guide a straw into a to-go cup lid without looking. And a driver who is unwrapping a burger is probably not thinking much about the tasks involved in safely operating a 3,500-pound vehicle.
Insure.com conducted a survey of 1,000 drivers to discover details about eating while driving. Perhaps predictably, the most common reason respondents eat on the road is that they have a long commute, while 49% of all respondents say they only eat while driving if they are on a trip of an hour or longer. Candy bars and granola bars are favorite driving foods, but 34% of survey participants said that unwrapping food is the most difficult part of eating and driving. Items that come in bags are popular, but 30% of drivers named reaching for something in the bottom of a bag as the most difficult task.
Survey respondents had consequences to report, too: 12% said they had an accident because they were eating and driving, and for 4%, the accident was major. The police pulled 5% of respondents over for a traffic violation they committed while distracted by food. Even though 74% reported never suffering consequences, the implication is that one in four drivers who are eating behind the wheel will have a near miss, get a ticket or cause some real damage.