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Just how dangerous is eating and drinking while driving?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Past posts on this blog detailed the dangers posed by drowsy drivers. On top of that potential threat, you also no doubt understand the risks posed to you and others on Connecticut’s roads by drunk drivers. Yet distracted drivers may be an even greater threat than either of these, as people may be more apt to justify distracting activity while behind the wheel.

One such distraction is eating and drinking while driving. Many people may believe there to be nothing wrong with grabbing a quick bite behind the wheel or having a cup of coffee in the car when running late. While this may not seem to be distracting, a review of the common types of driving distractions reveals that they are.

The three major forms of driving distractions

According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three major types of driving distractions. These are:

  • Manual: Actions that require the use of one’s hands
  • Visual: Actions that require one’s vision
  • Cognitive: Actions that require one’s attention

When a person eats or drinks behind the wheel, they need to look at and pay attention to their food and/or beverages in order to avoid spills. They also have to release the steering wheel in order to grasp them. Some might argue that these are merely momentary actions, yet when traveling at a high speed in a vehicle, one can go a great distance while distracted by what they consume.

The risks of eating and drinking while driving

The actions involved in eating and drinking alone may not present the greatest risks to you and others on the road, but rather their prevalence. A study by Exxon Mobil showed that as many as 70% of people eat while driving, which makes encountering a “dining driver” much more likely than one who is drowsy or drunk.