Road trips are a great way to pass the time now that we’re restricted from doing too much else. And if you don’t pack enough snacks for you and your passengers, you’ll be tempted to get something fast & quick while commuting. Before you pull over for that double bacon cheeseburger, consider the dangers of distracted driving before you take a bite out of that five-dollar burger. It may be worth taking additional time to pull over to eat during your next trip.
Eating while driving causes three types of distracted driving: physical, cognitive, and visual. Physical distractions are any distraction that causes the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel. One example of this would be holding a taco in one hand while steering. A cognitive distraction is when a driver’s attention is divided between the road and anything else. Visual distractions take the driver’s eyes off the road. Most people struggle to eat without looking at their food, making it a better idea to stop safely and give your meal the attention it deserves. Eating encompasses all three types of distractions leading to a dangerous and deadly combination.
If you do choose to stop for take-out, pullover to enjoy your meal fully. Distracted driving comes in many forms. When you answer that call, grab an item that fell, or bite into that donut, you’re distracted. Eating while driving is a major type of distracted driving and is considered very dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hot chocolate, coffee, doughnuts, and hamburgers are the most dangerous items to eat. 80% of accidents are caused by distracted driving, and the average fender bender can cost over four-figures. Repair-cost alone can persuade a driver to consider pulling over to eat those cheese fries. You also may want to reconsider lecturing your millennials several times about the dangers of distracted driving. Studies have shown that baby-boomers are more likely to snag a few bites while driving, and women are more likely to drive and snack than men.
Anything that takes your attention off the road can be considered a distraction. Distracted driving is a deadly price to pay to curb your hunger. Keep the inside of your vehicle, clean, and pull over to eat when your stomach starts to snarl. If possible, schedule rest breaks ahead of time before jumping on the road. When you already have your rest breaks planned, you may be less likely to snack while on the road.