You have likely noticed the increased emphasis placed on avoiding distracted driving and correctly assumed that such awareness is only needed because it continues to remain a problem. Most may limit the extent of that problem to using their cell phones while driving, yet as previously detailed on this blog, there are many types of driving distractions. 

One that many of our past clients here at Cramer, Multhauf & Hammes, LLP failed to appreciate prior to experiencing its dangers firsthand is eating while driving. You may not consider eating and drinking behind the wheel to be distracting (one might even argue that industries encourage it, with automakers including cupholders in vehicle designs and restaurants providing meals through drive-thru windows), yet a review of the actual forms of driving distractions reveals exactly how dangerous it can be. 

Hitting all three major types of distractions 

A previous post listed the types of driving distractions formally identified by experts. These include: 

  • Manual distractions 
  • Visual distractions 
  • Cognitive distractions 

The joint research effort “Decide to Drive” reveals that eating actually causes a driver to hit all three. They have to release the steering wheel (with at least one hand) in order to grasp their food. To avoid spills, they must focus on what they eat and glance down at it (even if only for a moment) as they direct it towards their mouth. This pulls both their vision and their attention away from the road. 

Identifying a driver distracted by eating 

So how can you know if eating while driving was the cause of your accident? If the driver that hit you emerges from their vehicle with fresh food or drink stains on their clothing, that can be an indication, as can freshly opened containers and wrappers in their vehicle. 

You can discover more information on identifying the causes of car accidents by continuing to browse through our site.