Awareness of the danger of using electronic devices such as cellphones while driving is fairly well-known. People here in Minnesota and elsewhere are constantly reminded not to use their devices while driving. However, one consistently underrated distraction causes more car accidents than people may think — eating while driving.
Many people do not think twice about picking up something to eat or drink from a drive-thru or taking their morning coffee with them when they leave the house. People’s lives have become so fast paced that finding time to sit and enjoy a meal does not happen as often as many would like. Instead, they end up staving off hunger during their commutes to work, while running the kids from activity to activity, or while running errands. This type of multitasking may seem efficient, but it places everyone in danger.
What many people fail to realize is that eating or drinking while driving reduces reaction time significantly. For instance, some statistics put reaction time down by 22% when a person consumes a drink behind the wheel. The percentage doubles to 44% when eating something. When these statistics are combined with the results of an ExxonMobil study, the potential danger from this seemingly simple activity makes the roads a significantly scarier place to be. It revealed that 83% of participants admitted to drinking beverages while driving and 70% admitted to eating.
Most Minnesota drivers would admit to eating or drinking while driving on at least one occasion. Many may not even think twice about it since they have not been involved in car accidents caused by consuming their favorite snack — yet. But the odds are not necessarily with them, and their luck could easily run out. Innocent motorists and their passengers could pay the price when that happens.