Road trips often don’t allow for drivers to eat lunch. Many drivers want to get to their destination as quickly as possible, which leads to the driver eating their meal behind the wheel. Most don’t give this a second thought but eating while driving is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do.

What’s so dangerous about eating and driving?

A snack on the road doesn’t seem like it could do a lot of damage. So, why is eating while driving so dangerous? A driver is 3.6 times more likely to be in a crash because they were eating while driving. This is because eating while driving distracts drivers in more than one way.

  • Cognitive: Cognitive distractions effects the driver’s focus on the road. Their mind drifts elsewhere. Food and beverages can distract the driver’s attention. This could be enough that their food would decrease their ability to register a dangerous situation. The driver’s react time would decrease as well.
  • Manual: During road trips, some drivers eat a whole meal. This can tie up the driver’s hands and decrease their ability to maneuver the car. Unwrapping food packages and holding the food can cause the driver to take at least one, if not both, hands away from the wheel. Many drivers end up swerving while eating, which can cause accidents for those around them.
  • Visual: Food and drinks offer a visual distraction for drivers as well. The driver, while they eat, spends more time looking down at their food. If a driver’s eyes aren’t on the road, they couldn’t see a crash coming and avoid it. When a driver spends more time with their eyes off the road, an accident is almost always the result.

Eating while driving isn’t typically thought of as distracted driving, but it’s important to know how it can affect your driving and why you should avoid it. Stopping for a bite to eat is never a bad choice if it can save you from an accident.