Distracted driving: does eating behind the wheel count?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2017 | blog, Firm News

South Dakota drivers are well aware of the potentially deadly consequences of distracted driving. Distraction is one of the leading causes of car accidents across the United States, and while texting and phone use is one of the leading sources of this type of dangerous activity, it is certainly not the only one. In fact, there are many dangerous behaviors that drivers do every day because they do not seem risky.

Many drivers eat while behind the wheel at some point. From drinking coffee on the morning commute to grabbing a fast-food dinner on the way home from work, it is quite normal to eat on the go. As common as this type of behavior may be, it is not worth it. In fact, eating while you are driving can be as big of a safety threat as texting while driving.

Why is eating and driving so dangerous?

When you think about distracted driving, chances are that you do not think about eating a burger or sipping a soda. In reality, these kinds of actions can cause a driver to experience one or multiple types of distraction. The three ways that eating can be dangerous include the following:

  • Visual distraction: When a driver takes his or her eyes off the wheel, it can cause an accident, even if it is only for a second. Eating can cause a driver to look at something other than the road ahead.
  • Manual distraction: This type of distraction occurs when one or both hands are not on the wheel. Eating requires a driver to take at least one hand off the wheel, which can lead to accidents, even if his or her eyes are on the road.
  • Cognitive distraction: When a driver is distracted mentally, it can be very dangerous. Even with both hands on the wheel and eyes ahead, a driver with an unfocused mind can still cause significant damage.

Simply put, eating while driving is dangerous and distracting. A 2014 study on distracted driving found that a driver who is eating is 3.6 times more likely to be in an accident than one who is not.

What to do after a distraction-related accident

It can be difficult to know what caused your accident or determine if you might have a civil claim. If you believe that you are the victim of any type of distracted driving, including eating while driving, you will find it greatly beneficial to reach out to the help of an attorney experienced in personal injury claims.

A complete case evaluation can help you understand your legal options and allow you to take the most appropriate steps to secure the full and fair recovery you deserve.


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