One thing that many people do is drive while eating. Most people don’t think that eating while driving is dangerous, and the majority of people who do it have done so for so long that it is commonplace.
The problem with distractions is that they come in many forms. While it is not illegal to drink or eat behind the wheel, if you get into a wreck because of eating, spilling a drink or otherwise being distracted by food, you could face serious penalties.
There are three kinds of distractions that you have to watch out for. These include manual, cognitive and visual. Here’s a little more about each one and what you can do to avoid them while behind the wheel.
Cognitive distractions take your mind off the road and away from driving. Focusing on your food or drink takes away your full attention from the road.
Manual distractions require you to take your hands off the wheel. Picking up a hamburger and unwrapping it is a manual distraction.
Visual distractions are distractions that take your eyes off the road. If you spill a drink, for example, you will probably immediately look down and away from the road to tend to the mess.
How do these distractions impact your ability to eat behind the wheel?
To start with, think about how you eat. If you need to hold a hamburger, for instance, you’d normally use two hands. You’ll have to use one if you want to eat behind the wheel. You might focus on how it tastes or on unwrapping it, too. These actions are manual, visual and cognitive distractions, as you look away from the road and focus on your food.
With drinks, the issue is the same. Unwrapping a straw, looking down to see where to insert it into the top of the cup and using a hand to hold the beverage all take your mind away from driving and your hands off the wheel.
Although these seem like innocent actions, you never know what might happen up ahead. If a driver suddenly brakes, you need the visual cues to stop in time. If you’re cut off, you need that split second of time to maneuver accordingly to evade a crash. You might need both hands to turn the wheel rapidly, but you won’t have them available with food in one.
Avoiding eating behind the wheel is easy. Simply stop at the restaurant or eat it in a parking lot. It isn’t worth the potentially perilous costs of being distracted.