There is no question that a teenager checking his or her text messages while driving is a distracted driver. However, there are multiple activities or events that can distract drivers, and these are not limited to cell phones or teenagers.
In fact, eating while driving is extremely common behavior for drivers of all ages. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, eating or drinking from an open container while driving can increase the likelihood of crashes by almost 40%.
What kinds of foods are the most dangerous?
Eating or drinking anything while operating a motor vehicle is a distraction, but some foods appear more often in accidents than others. Some of the most dangerous foods to eat while driving include fried chicken, barbecued food, carbonated beverages, chocolate, hamburgers, soups and coffee.
However, these statistics could be due to Americans being more likely to eat these types of foods in their vehicles. It does not mean that if you are eating something in your vehicle that is not on this list it is not a distraction.
How can I prevent eating while driving?
A lot of Americans eat in their cars due to a lack of time. If you find yourself eating breakfast behind the wheel on the way to work, consider setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier. For longer-term travel, try to pack a cooler and pull off to the side of the road at a rest area to eat a meal. Not only will you refrain from eating while driving, you will also save money and it will likely be healthier food, too.