Though using the phone or a navigation system puts drivers and other road users in danger, there is another distracting activity that one should be aware of: eating and drinking. Many drivers in Indiana forget that eating and drinking can pose cognitive, visual and manual distractions all at the same time.
Cognitive distractions take a driver’s mind off the road. Visual distractions cause a driver to take his or her eyes off the road while manual distractions require drivers to stop holding the steering wheel or at least stop having complete control over it. It’s no wonder that eating and drinking, according to a 2014 Lytx study, make a car crash 3.6 times more likely to occur.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls eating and drinking from an open container a “secondary task distraction” and says that this raises the risk for a crash or near-crash by nearly 39%. The NHTSA even has a list out of 10 food and drink items that pose a particular threat to drivers. The items include chocolate, hamburgers, chili, barbecued foods, soup and coffee.
To avoid risking their lives and the lives of others, drivers should pull over whenever they are on long trips and need to eat before reaching their destination. Of course, they should remember to watch out for other forms of distraction too.
Eating and drinking, making calls, texting, looking at billboards: any number of things can keep drivers from acting safely at all times. When car accidents occur because of negligence like this, those who were injured through little or no fault of their own may be able to seek reimbursement for their losses. These could be economic damages, such as medical expenses, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. To learn how much they might be eligible for, victims may see a lawyer.