You are a cautious driver, which is why you always park when you eat fast food. You know that you could take the food and drive off, eating while you travel, but the extra few minutes won’t impact your travel much or make you so late that it’s inexcusable.

Knowing how you are with food and drinks in your vehicle, you were shocked when you were struck by another driver. That driver was eating behind the wheel and had spilled something on themselves. The person reacted to the spill, looking away from the road, and that’s all it took to cause a collision.

Now, you’re the one suffering the consequences, while they were fortunate enough to walk away without serious injuries. You suffered serious whiplash, broken bones and a head injury. It will take months, if not years, to recover.

Is eating while driving actually that dangerous?

It is extremely dangerous, because it takes your hands off the wheel and takes your mind off the road. A Lytx study from 2014 states that drivers who eat behind the wheel are 3.6 times more likely to be in a car crash than those who don’t eat or drink in their vehicles while driving. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admits that data has shown that eating or drinking from an open container can increase your risk of being in a collision by up to 39 percent.

Why do people crash when eating or drinking and driving?

It’s possible to have a few different causes. A few factors that could lead to distractions and a collision include:

  • Spilling cold or hot beverages
  • Choking on food
  • Looking away to unwrap a food item
  • Taking hands off the wheel to eat or pick up food

These are just a few actions that people make take when drinking or eating behind the wheel. They might seem harmless, but taking your mind or eyes off the road for just a second could be enough to end up in a crash.

How can people avoid crashes from eating and drinking?

The best option is to avoid eating or drinking and driving. If you can, pull over in a parking lot or wait until you get to your destination to eat. If you have time, opt to go into the fast-food restaurant instead of eating in your vehicle. It’s safer, and it will help prevent unintended collisions.