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Could eating be the most dangerous driving distraction?

You might think that with all the attention paid to the dangers of texting or talking on a cell phone while driving in recent years that distracted driving is not something you need to concern yourself with. Yet distracted drivers remain a constant threat you and others on Texas’ roads face.

Why is this? Like many people, you may think distracted driving equates solely to drivers using their cell phones while behind the wheel. There are, however, a number of different driving distractions beyond this. In fact, one in particular may be even more dangerous than any other.

Common forms of driving distractions

That distraction is eating while driving. Most might not consider eating while at the wheel distracting (given what a natural action it seems to be). Yet in reality, the actions involved in eating are more than sufficient to take one’s attention off the road.

Per a joint research effort between the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there are three major types of driving distractions. These include:

  • Cognitive distractions
  • Visual distractions
  • Manual distractions

Eating and while driving force one to engage in all three. They must dedicate their attention and their gaze to their food or drink in order to avoid spills, while also releasing the steering wheel (with at least one hand) to grasp it. The combination of these actions (while simultaneously traveling at high speeds) may impede their reaction time to the point of making them dangerous.

The likelihood eating or drinking while driving caused your accident

Why might eating while driving be the most dangerous of driving distractions? Few people appreciate it risk it poses, which might explain why as many as 70% of drivers admit to doing it. Thus, minus any other apparent cause, it may be likely the eating contributed to your accident.