Why is “dining and driving” considered a distraction?

| Jul 21, 2021 | motor vehicle accidents

Many modern conveniences seem geared toward allowing drivers to remain productive while behind the wheel. Drive-thru restaurants tempt drivers with the notion of multi-tasking during a car ride. Unfortunately, drivers often overlook the dangerous nature of these commonplace activities.

Pervasive conveniences encourage drivers to dine in the vehicle whether it is a student eating breakfast on the way to an early-morning class or a worker having dinner on the way home after a long shift. Unfortunately, this activity can impair a driver’s focus and attention.

  • It’s a manual distraction: Whether eating or drinking, the activity forces the driver to remove one or both hands from the steering wheel at any given time.
  • It’s a visual distraction: Any time the driver looks away from the road, it is a visual distraction. The driver will often look at the food he or she is selecting or track a spill to later clean it up.
  • It’s a cognitive distraction: While it might seem like a straightforward task, dining and driving can take a driver’s thoughts and attention from the road. From looking around while deciding where to get food to letting the mind wander while eating, the activity can be a cognitive distraction.

While drivers might agree that certain activities such as texting or personal grooming can be distracting while behind the wheel, other activities might not be considered universally hazardous. ExxonMobil surveyed 1,000 drivers to see how common these distractions are. More than 70% of the drivers admitted to eating while behind the wheel. Additionally, more than 83% of the respondents admitted to drinking a beverage while driving. If a distracted driver caused a collision that resulted in your injuries, it is wise to seek legal guidance.

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