Just how dangerous is eating while driving?

| Nov 10, 2020 | motor vehicle accidents

After experiencing a car accident in Minnesota, the first thing you likely want to know is what might have caused the driver that hit you to lose control of their vehicle. You may be able to rule out common causes like intoxication or texting while driving rather quickly based on their actions, appearance or claims. Yet perhaps the cause may be something that many (including you) might overlook: eating while driving.

Very few people may actually view eating behind the wheel as distracting. Indeed, the existence of drive-thru windows at fast-food restaurants might seem to imply that such action is actually encouraged. Yet a close review of the actions that go into eating while driving reveals just how dangerous it might actually be.

The distractions caused by eating while driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three major types of driving distractions:

  • Manual
  • Cognitive
  • Visual

Eating behind the wheel causes a driver to engage in all three. They must release the steering wheel with at least one hand to grasp their food (manual), then pay attention to avoid spills on their clothing or vehicle upholstery (cognitive), which likely will require taking their eyes off the road to see it (visual). The cumulative effect of all three distractions is a driver traveling at a high speed for what may be a long distance without being fully attentive on the road ahead.

Knowing if a driver was eating behind the wheel

How are you to know of such action caused your accident? The driver may openly admit to it (not thinking that it distracted them). Other signs may be fresh stains on their clothing, or open food wrappers strewn about their vehicle.