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How dangerous is eating while driving?

It is common to picture activities like texting when the term “distracted driving” comes up. However, there are many potential distractions while driving, and several of them do not involve a cell phone at all.

For example, eating while driving is one of the most common distractions. Many people believe that eating while driving is not dangerous, but this is incorrect. According to Decide to Drive, eating or drinking from an open container in a vehicle while driving increases the potential for a crash or near-crash by almost 40%.

What makes eating while driving so dangerous?

Any sort of distraction from the wheel is dangerous. Even talking to another passenger in a vehicle is a form of distraction, albeit a lesser one. It is also true that some forms of food are more dangerous to eat in a moving vehicle than others.

For example, a very dangerous beverage is coffee. If a driver spills hot coffee on him or herself, this creates a very immediate and serious distraction from driving. Other dangerous foods include powdered donuts, fried chicken, hamburgers and tacos.

How can I prevent eating and driving?

Many times, this requires adhering to a schedule. Most people who are eating in their cars are not doing so out of choice, but merely because it provides a convenient multitasking situation. If you find that you have to eat your breakfast on your morning commute to work, try waking up 10 minutes earlier to give yourself the time necessary to eat before getting behind the wheel.

If you are on a road trip, pull off the highway and stop to eat inside of a restaurant rather than picking something up through the drive-thru.