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Detailing the dangers of eating while driving

Common types of driving distractions have been detailed on this blog in the past. One that might immediately jump out to many in Baton Rouge is eating and drinking while driving. These acts are likely considered to be so natural that few might actually classify them as distracting. Yet the statistics detailing the dangers of eating while driving cannot be overlooked. According to information compiled through a joint effort between The Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, those who eat behind the wheel are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not. 

How is eating and drinking while driving distracting? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies driving distractions into the following three categories: 

  • Manual distractions
  • Visual distractions
  • Cognitive distractions

Manual distractions are those that require one to take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Visual distractions take one’s eyes off the road ahead. Cognitive distractions are much the same, only rather than pulling one’s view away from the road, they divert one’s attention. 

Eating while driving causes all three distractions. One must grasp what it is they are eating, look at it as they put it in their mouth, and pay attention to what they are doing in order to avoid spills. Many might say that these tasks only require a moment of one’s attention, yet when traveling at high speeds, a momentary distraction is often all that is needed to cause a devastating accident. While few states have yet to enact laws that make it illegal to eat while driving, doing so can result in one being deemed liable for an accident and thus responsible for covering the expenses of those involved. 

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