Increased attention has been paid to the dangers associated with distracted driving in recent years. Yet a majority of that focus has been dedicated to deterring people in Orlando from using their cellphones while driving. There is another form of driving distraction that is even more prevalent that is also likely more dangerous (indeed, information shared by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that it may be responsible for as much as 80% of all car accidents). This distraction is eating while driving. 

To most, eating and drinking seem like such natural actions that few would actually recognize them as being distracting. However, a joint research effort between The Auto Alliance and The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons detailed how eating behind the wheel forces drivers to engage in the three major recognized categories of distraction: 

  • Visual 
  • Cognitive 
  • Manual 

Manual distractions are those that force the use of one or both of a person’s hands (just as a driver must release at least one hand from the wheel in order to grasp whatever they are eating or drinking). Cognitive distractions pull one’s attention from the task at hand (in the case of driving, away from trying to navigate the road ahead). Visual distractions are similar to cognitive, yet they force an actor’s eyes on to the distraction (again, when eating behind the wheel, a driver must take a moment to look at what they are consuming). 

While each of the actions involved in eating may lead up to only momentary distraction, statistics show that to be enough to make it dangerous to do while driving. Those who eat at the wheel are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not.