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Is dining and driving a serious distraction?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Whether it is a crowded city street, a wide-open county road or a fast-moving highway, drivers must keep their focus squarely on safely reaching their destination. Unfortunately, numerous activities threaten to pull a motorist’s focus from the road leading to reckless driving behavior.

Many drivers attempt to multitask while behind the wheel. Whether it is eating breakfast on the way to an early class or grabbing a fast-food dinner on the way home from a long shift at work, drivers are not shy about dining on the road. Even the simple act of taking a drink from a travel mug of coffee, bottle of water or can of soda can represent a devastating shift in attention from the driving environment.

People often only lump serious activities into the distraction category. A text conversation, perhaps, or reading a newspaper while driving are certainly examples of dangerous habits. Nearly any activity, however, can be a distraction:

  • Any activity that pulls a driver’s vision from the road is a visual distraction.
  • Any activity that pulls a driver’s hands from the steering wheel is a manual distraction.
  • Any activity that pulls a driver’s attention from the road is a cognitive distraction.

While these might seem like three distinct categories, there is often overlap. For example, the driver would need to reach away from the steering wheel to grab their next bite of food. Spilling the food might cause the driver to instinctively look at the mess. In these situations, eating while driving is a manual and visual distraction.

Unfortunately, collisions caused by distracted drivers can result in catastrophic injuries. From drifting into oncoming lanes or missing stopped traffic, a distracted driver can cause a high-speed collision resulting in brain damage, spinal cord trauma, paralysis or amputation. Depending on the factors contributing to the collision, the crash could even prove fatal.