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Eating and driving is both common and dangerous

For some people, road trips and snacks, drinks and fast food all go hand in hand. However, as common as eating behind the wheel may be, experts warn that it's actually a very serious distraction that can lead to accidents.

The first thing to understand about distracted driving is that there are three types of distractions. They are:

-- Cognitive: These distractions make you think about something other than driving.

-- Manual: These distractions make you take your hands away from the controls.

-- Visual: These distractions cause to you to look away from the road.

Many distractions only fit into one category, and they're dangerous enough on their own. For instance, listening to your headphones could be a cognitive distraction, while looking down at the GPS could be a visual distraction.

Eating, though, checks each box. You think about the food that you want, distracting your brain. You look down and reach for it, simultaneously taking your hands off of the wheel and looking away from the road.

Plus, you may not just be eating. If you buy a hamburger in a tinfoil wrapper, you need to unwrap it. If you have condiments, like ketchup and hot sauce, you have to open the packets. If you spill food or drink on yourself, it comes as a shock and is an instant distraction.

Even if you avoid eating behind the wheel, you could very easily be hit by a distracted driver who didn't make the same choice. Eating and drinking on the road is incredibly common. If this happens, you may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills and more.

Source: Decide to Drive, "Eating While Driving," accessed Feb. 03, 2017

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