It is a habit even more commonplace that checking your phone for messages: dining and driving. Whether a motorist has a travel mug full of coffee resting in the cupholder in the center console on the way to work, or is working through a bag of chips on the drive home from school, dining and driving can quickly become an insurmountable distraction.
Driving distractions typically fall into three categories: cognitive distractions, visual distractions, manual distractions. Some activities can overlap into multiple categories when the driver must look away from the road, take his hands off the steering wheel and turn his attention from the safe operation of the vehicle to the additional task. Common examples can include:
- Reaching over to remove the twist cap from a soda or water bottle
- Unwrapping a straw and placing it into a soft drink
- Eating a drive-thru meal on the way home from work
- Eating a breakfast prepared at home on the way to school
- Extending your arm to catch falling food or clean up a spill
- Looking down to clean spilled food from the front of your clothes or your lap
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that dining and driving can increase the likelihood of a crash or a near-miss by nearly 39%. In fact, they have developed a list of the 10 most dangerous types of food to eat or drink while driving. While some of the items on the list might seem obvious, such as soup, hamburgers or jelly-filled doughnuts, other items are far more common, such as coffee and chocolate.
Distracted driving can result in serious collisions leading to catastrophic injuries and devastating property damage. If you were in a vehicle wreck caused by a negligent driver, do not hesitate to learn more about your options for monetary recovery.