There are many kinds of distractions that could impact a person’s ability to drive safely. One of them is choosing to eat or drink behind the wheel.
The dangers of eating while driving are significant. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that drinking while driving (nonalcoholic) increases your risk of a crash or near-miss by around 39%.
Why is eating or drinking behind the wheel dangerous?
The main reason that eating or drinking behind the wheel is dangerous is because it’s difficult to do. You have to try to pay attention to the road at the same time as unwrapping straws or food. You may need two hands to hold certain kinds of food, which is not possible if you’re driving safely.
There is also a risk of spilling food or drink. The problem with that is that most people will react to the spill and look away from the road. They may try to grab napkins or towels to clean up the mess and become seriously distracted. In the case that the items were hot or cold, the driver may be significantly distracted by the spill and any pain it causes.
On top of these risks, you have to remember that there is a risk of choking on food while driving. Hitting a bump or stopping suddenly may increase the risk of having food get lodged in your throat. Unfortunately, drivers who are choking may not think to pull over and get help. Instead, they may become distracted and cause a serious collision.
Even what you eat may make a difference. Spicy food, for example, may cause your eyes to water or you to cough, which can take your mind off what you’re doing.
These are not the only ways that food can put you at risk while driving, but they are some of the most significant. If you do need to eat or drink, consider pulling over or going inside a restaurant to eat instead. Taking that short time away from driving won’t impact your time of arrival much, and you’ll be much safer as a result.