Examining the dangers of eating while driving

Enjoying a cup of coffee on the way to work. Grabbing a burger while on the go. These are activities that many in San Antonio do every day while driving. Yet at the same time, these same people would likely not dare to drink and drive or even talk on their cellphones while behind the wheel. That is because it has been engrained in their head that such activities either impair their ability to drive or take their attention away from the road. So does eating, however, yet few view it as posing a risk. 

Information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says otherwise. It's study findings (as shared by the website Drive-Safely.net) show that eating while driving can increase one's chances of being in an accident by as much as 80 percent. Many may doubt such an assertion due to the assumption that eating has become so second nature that it requires little to no thought. After analyzing the many different forms of driving distractions, however, one might think otherwise. 

Data shared through a joint effort between the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows there to be three types of driving distractions: 

  • Visual: Distractions which take one's eyes off of the road
  • Manual: Distractions which take one's hands off the steering wheel
  • Cognitive: Distractions which occupy one's thoughts

Eating causes each of these forms of distractions just as much as talking on a phone or texting does. It might even pose a greater risk given that so many people do it without giving it a second thought. Yet those who cause car accidents due to being distracted while eating may just as liable as drivers engaged in more highly recognized forms of distracted driving. 

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