Eating while driving is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. Along with other distracted driving behaviors, the act of eating snacks or drinking beverages while behind the wheel presents serious safety risks on U.S. highways.
There are three common types of distractions that impair drivers’ abilities to safely operate their vehicles and avoid crashes:
- Visual distractions occur when a driver’s eyes are diverted away from the road to complete or pay attention to another task.
- Manual distractions require drivers to take their hands off of the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions take a driver’s mind and focus away from driving.
Each of these distractions are dangerous, but when combined they pose an even greater risk to driver, passenger and pedestrian safety. Eating and driving often incorporates a combination of one or more distractions. Drivers must unwrap food packaging, use napkins, hold the food with at least one hand, apply condiments and complete other activities while operating a vehicle. This makes eating while driving a particularly dangerous activity.
The only way to avoid distracted driving is to pay attention while on the road. Drivers are advised to eat at home or wait until they get to their destination. Always remember, that your safety comes first.