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Drinking coffee behind the wheel: A driving distraction?

Many people will automatically equate the phrase “distracted driving” with activities such as making phone calls, texting or manipulating a navigation system. One driving habit that often goes overlooked, unfortunately, has been around for several decades and has led to countless accidents and catastrophic injuries.

Dining and driving.

While drivers generally recognize that eating while behind the wheel can be a distraction, the simple act of drinking is so universal that it is nearly ignored as a hazard. A bottle of water. A can of soda. A travel mug of coffee. These are all fixtures in nearly every car whether you are simply running errands or involved in a lengthy commute to work. Unfortunately, drinking while driving can lead to serious collisions and catastrophic injuries.

  • Manual distractions: Taking a hand from the steering wheel to grab a drink from the center console becomes a manual distraction that can reduce a driver’s ability to control the vehicle.
  • Cognitive distractions: Something as simple as thinking about taking a drink of morning coffee can remove a driver’s focus and attention from the road.
  • Visual distractions: When a driver looks down to grab the drink, he or she is distracted from the road. Additionally, tipping a travel mug up to get the last few drops can block a driver’s vision of his or her surroundings.

Drinking coffee on the way to work, on the way to school or on the way to complete morning household errands might seem like a natural thing. Distracted drivers, however, can cause severe collisions with life-altering injuries. Vehicle accident injuries can include brain trauma, paralysis, broken bones and amputation. It is wise to be safe on the road by either reducing distractions or identifying distracted drivers and avoiding them at all costs.