Eating and drinking while driving is a distraction

Of the many distracting activities that drivers in Ohio and across the US engage in, eating and drinking are some of the most overlooked. A 2014 study from Lytx found that drivers triple their risk for an auto accident if they eat and drink. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that eating or drinking from an open container makes a collision or near-collision some 39% more likely to occur.

Eating and drinking can take a driver’s eyes off the road, in which case it is considered a visual distraction. Then it forces a driver to take one or, perhaps, both hands off the steering wheel. This makes it a manual distraction. It is also a cognitive distraction in that it causes the driver’s mind to wander from what’s happening on the road.

Some foods are more dangerous if they come with packaging to unwrap, for example, or require condiments to be put on them. The NHTSA has compiled a list of 10 dangerous foods and drinks that drivers should always avoid. They include tacos, hamburgers, chocolate, cream-filled donuts, soup and coffee.

Drivers on short trips should wait until they reach their destination to eat. If this is not possible, then they should pull over to the side of the road to eat. Safety is always more important than saving time.

Those who have been injured at the hands of a distracted driver may have a personal injury case on their hands. They want to be compensated, after all, for their medical expenses, the cost to repair their vehicles, the income they lost and so on. The process of filing a claim can be complex, though, so victims may do well to hire a lawyer. An attorney may have investigators look into the accident and bring together all the necessary evidence.