Eating Or Drinking While Driving Can Distract You

Posted on: 27 October 2016

Did you know that distracted driving is a criminal offense in most places? This shouldn't be a surprise because distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents, with eating and drinking being common causes of the distractions. Here are some of the ways eating or drinking can cause road accidents:

If It Makes You Take Your Eyes Off the Road

This occurs when you have to take your eyes off the road so that you can focus on a food related task. For example, you may take your eyes off the road while reaching for a taco or a can of soda. It might take only a few seconds to do, but those few seconds can lead to an accident, especially if you are driving at high speed.

If It Spills On You

You know it's easy to spill food or drinks if you are eating or drinking while driving. You can spill the food on your lap, shirt or seat, and even if you don't want to wipe it off right away, you may find yourself momentarily looking at the spilled food; it's a reflex action. The spillage may also startle and distract you from driving.

If It Injures You

Food-related injuries can also cause distractions on the road. For example, you can choke on the food, get burned by it or cut one of your fingers. However mildly you may react to such an injury, your risk of getting in an accident will increase.

If It Makes You Take Your Hands Off the Wheel

There is no way you can eat or drink while having both hands on the wheel. Even if you are using a straw, you will at least need to open the can/cup and insert the straw. You might also take your hands off the steering wheel to reach for a napkin or to unwrap the food packaging.

If It Makes Your Hands Slippery

Lastly, if you are eating with your hands, they may get too greasy and slippery to hold the steering wheel firmly. Greasy foods such as pizza and different forms of fried food are notorious for making hands slippery. This makes it difficult to perform evasive maneuvers in case of an emergency.

Specific charges and punishments for distracted driving vary by state. In some places, distracted driving (without aggravating factors such as speeding or driving under the influence) constitute a moving violation. In other places, however, distracted driving can lead to a criminal misdemeanor charge. Matters get even more complicated if there are aggravating factors, in which case you may even be punished with jail time. Consult a lawyer if you aren't sure of the laws in your state and wish to avoid the penalties. Click for more info.