You’re late for work. The drive-thru seems like the perfect solution. You swing in and get a breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee to eat in the car. This way, you can save time and make your commute more productive.
A lot of people do exactly this every single morning, but it’s not actually as safe as they assume. Distracted driving is far more than just texting and driving, after all, and experts agree that eating and driving can also lead to accidents.
How bad is it? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that accident odds are 39% higher when drivers eat or drink in the car. In this case, they’re referring not to drinking and driving as it commonly references alcohol, but just to drinking any legal beverage — coffee, tea, soda or even water.
In a lot of ways, eating and driving distracts a driver just like a cellphone. They end up holding the food or the cup, taking a hand from the steering wheel. They probably look away from the road to take a bite or to initially take the food out of the drive-thru bag. There is also a cognitive element as they think about eating or drinking without spilling, and accident risks increase all over again after a spill — especially if it’s something hot like coffee or soup.
When it comes to driving, the key is for people to simply focus on driving at all times. Nothing else. Not texting. Not eating. Not talking to friends. They need to commit to driving.
Unfortunately, not all people do, and they often cause accidents. Those who get injured may have a right to financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills and more.