Most people are aware that driving while impaired or distracted is dangerous. What some don’t realize is that eating behind the wheel can be dangerous, too. Eating and drinking, even if it’s not alcoholic, while you’re driving poses the same kind of threat as texting and driving. Your mind is taken off what you’re doing. Your hands might be off the wheel, even if momentarily. You may look away from the road to find your drink or what you’re trying to eat.
All of these actions make it more likely that you’ll get into a crash. A survey of 1,000 drivers by EXXON-Mobile found that 70% admitted that they’d eaten while driving in the past. Eight out of 10 admitted to drinking nonalcoholic beverages behind the wheel. This is all technically legal, but you can still end up in a collision if you are distracted by eating or drinking in the car.
Though drinking or eating while driving isn’t explicitly banned, you can still get pulled over. Drivers who are swerving or moving dangerously may find that cops look at them the same as anyone else; when they drive recklessly, they’re going to get pulled over.
It’s a good idea to stop and eat wherever you are rather than to risk a citation or crash. Spending five minutes sitting in a parking lot will allow you the time you need to focus on your food and also give you the opportunity to take a break. When you’re cleaned up and ready to go, then you can get back on the road safely.
Crashes from eating and driving are fairly common. If you’re struck by someone who had spilled on themselves or who was paying attention to food more than the road, you may be able to hold them liable for any injuries that you suffered.