Many drivers in Tennessee, especially those on long trips, will eat and drink behind the wheel. While this may save them time, it can put them and other road users in jeopardy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls eating and drinking from an open container a “secondary task distraction” and says that this makes a crash or near-crash nearly 39% more likely.
A Lytx study from 2014 goes further and says that drivers who eat and drink are 3.6 times likelier to be in a crash than attentive drivers are. The fact is that consuming food and drinks falls under all three types of distractions: cognitive, visual and manual. Manual distractions take a driver’s hands off the steering wheel while visual ones take the eyes off the road. Both types can cause the mind to wander from the task of driving, which means a cognitive distraction.
Some foods and drinks pose a greater threat to driver safety than others, such as barbecued foods, hamburgers, tacos, cream-filled donuts, soup and coffee. These are some of the items listed on the NHTSA’s list of the 10 most dangerous foods and drinks for drivers. Drivers can take this into account the next time they are out. If they absolutely need to eat while on a trip, they should pull over to do so.
Many motor vehicle accidents occur because drivers think they can safely multitask. Their primary duty is to keep the car under control and keep themselves and others safe, and when they neglect this, they may be held liable for any injuries on the other side. Victims, for their part, may be able to recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault, but actually negotiating for a fair settlement is another matter that may require legal assistance. It all starts with a case evaluation.