The dangers of eating and drinking while driving

Sep 20, 2019

Distracted driving is a serious problem currently facing you and other drivers on Houston’s roads. Yet most tend to assume that such cases are limited to people using their cell phones while driving their vehicles. Many come to us here at The De La Garza Law Group after having been surprised to learn that there is another form of distracted driving that is equally (if not more) common as texting while driving yet far less underreported: eating while driving. 

Like most, you may be surprised to hear how eating behind the wheel can be dangerous. After all, fast food restaurants will serve you while you are in your car, and automakers themselves make it easier to drink beverages while driving by incorporating cupholders into vehicle designs. Indeed, it may even seem as though you are encouraged to eat and drive. 

Doing so, however, is actually much more dangerous than you might realize. Per information shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, eating and drinking while driving can increase your chances of being involved in an accident by as much as 39 percent. 

Why is eating while driving so distracting? According to research data shared by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance, eating behind the wheel forces one to engage the three primary forms of driving distractions: 

  • Taking their eyes off the road
  • Removing one (or both) hands from the steering wheel
  • Taking one’s attention away from the road

How might you tell of the person that caused your accident was eating behind the wheel? Signs such as food wrappers and open containers in their vehicles may be a good indication, as can spills or stains on their clothing.

More information on recognizing distracted driving can be found throughout our site.