You know it’s probably bad for your waistline, but did you know that going through that fast food drive-through could also increase your risk of causing an auto accident? It’s true. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that eating while driving could be an even greater distraction than using a cell phone. In fact, it may increase your chances of being in a car accident by as much as 80%.

There are a countless number of things that can distract a driver’s attention. Many of them are things that can’t be controlled, but eating in the car can easily be avoided.

Driving and Eating: An Unappetizing Combination

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of fatal car accidents in the U.S. Most people think of cell phone use when they hear the term “distracted driving,” but it includes much more. Eating, drinking, reading navigation systems, children, or raucous passengers can all distract your attention and cause an injury.  

One survey found that nearly 57% of drivers eat while driving. This statistic is frightening when, according to the NHTSA, eating while driving may increase your chances of being in an auto accident by as much as 80%.

How can eating be so distracting? Eating while driving:

  • Takes your focus off the road
  • Increases the risk of choking
  • Affects your control of the steering wheel
  • Requires taking both hands off the wheel
  • Causes potential sneezing, coughing, or watery eyes
  • Causes spills or dropped food
  • Creates the secondary distraction of handling wrappers and containers

Eating or enjoying non-alcoholic drinks while driving is not illegal in Texas. In fact, Texas is one of the last states to enforce a state-wide law on distracted driving. However, you could still be pulled over and ticketed for running a red light, swerving, or driving recklessly as a result of being distracted. 

Texas police do have the authority to issue a ticket for reckless driving and other traffic violations. The best way to avoid legal trouble is to remove all distractions while you are driving. 

How To Avoid Eating While Driving

It seems that not eating is one of the easier distractions to avoid. Simply don’t bring food into the car, right? Yet, in today’s fast-paced world, the reality is that many people feel they don’t have time to eat, and having lunch or dinner while driving is a normal practice. 

If you must grab food on the go, try these alternatives to eating while driving: 

  • Give yourself a few extra minutes to pull over and enjoy your meal 
  • Stop at a park or use the outdoor seating at a fast-food restaurant 
  • Leave home early enough to stop at a casual restaurant for a bite 

If you are transporting food in the car, place bags in the back seat or even the trunk to avoid the temptation of snacking on them. 

Extending a “no food” rule to passengers may be difficult, but it will also reduce your temptation to eat. 

For those rare times when not eating in the car means you’ll have to skip a meal, consider bringing a protein drink in an easy-open container. 

Stay Alive — Even If It Means Staying Hungry

Denying yourself a snack or delaying lunch for a few more minutes isn’t a big deal. Eating while driving isn’t worth risking a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, or worse. When you’re in the driver’s seat, your only job is to pay attention to the road.

Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help

For more information, contact the Houston car accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.

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