The dangers of eating while driving

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2021 | motor vehicle accidents

After experiencing a car accident in New York, you may rightly question the actions that led to the driver that caused your accident to hit you. As a motorist yourself, you know that while inherent driving dangers exist, the right amount of caution allows you to typically avoid them. What, then, kept the driver that hit you from exercising such care?

This is the question that many of those that come to us here at Tinari O’Connell & Osborn LLP have. We often respond by asking whether the driver that hit them had fresh spills or food stains on their clothing (or food wrappers strewn about their vehicle). If you noticed that in your accident, then the cause could potentially be an underappreciated driving distraction: eating while driving.

How is eating while driving distracting?

Like many others, you probably view eating as such a natural action that you do not view it as distracting. Yet a joint research effort between the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons identified the existence of three major types of driving distractions:

  • Manual
  • Cognitive
  • Visual

Manual distractions require the use of one’s hands, while cognitive and visual distractions require the use of one’s attention and vision, respectively. Contemplating the actions that go into eating (and drinking) behind the wheel shows you that doing so causes all three.

How many people eat and drink while driving?

Aside from the aforementioned indicators, the mere fact that so few likely recognizing eating while driving as distracting increases the odds that it caused your accident. Indeed, enough engage in it for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to estimate it as the cause of as many as 80% of car accidents.

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