There are all kinds of distractions that take your mind off what you’re doing, and eating behind the wheel is one of them. When someone eats behind the wheel, they may take their hands off the wheel to unwrap a sandwich, pick up a drink or try to clean up a spill. They might get burned by a hot drink that spills or be surprised by a cold drink that tips over.
Choking is another risk, and it may result in a medical emergency that makes it hard for the driver to pay attention to the road. This, along with many other risks, is why it’s not a good idea to eat or drink while driving.
Understand the risks that come with eating behind the wheel
When you’re driving, your focus needs to be on what you’re doing. Eating takes your mind off the road and hands off the wheel, which makes it dangerous for you to be on the road.
Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s safe
Plenty of people do eat behind the wheel, but just because it’s normalized doesn’t mean that it’s safe. It’s actually much safer to park in the restaurant’s parking lot and eat or to pull over to have a snack than it is to continue driving with the risk of choking, spilling food or otherwise becoming distracted.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a driver who eats behind the wheel is around 39% more likely to be involved in a serious crash or near-miss. For that reason, it’s better to put down your food and wait to eat until you can stop.
Not all drivers will listen to that guidance. If they cause a crash, it’s important to note that they can be held accountable for it. They may be responsible for other people’s injuries and the financial consequences of them.