What is wrong with eating or drinking at the wheel?

The side of the highway is full of establishments selling food and drink to hungry or thirsty drivers. Surely that means eating or drinking while driving must be safe? After all, you do not see billboards encouraging drivers to pop in and down a few shots of bourbon or smoke some marijuana before continuing their journey.

While food and non-alcoholic beverages can help you stay alert while driving, they can also affect your safety.

Drinking and eating takes concentration

Rally drivers have drinking tubes connected to their water supplies to take on fluid with minimal effort. You probably do not. To drink something, you need to hold it in your hand. That means one hand is not on the wheel. Eating is similar. While you can probably eat or drink with one hand, unwrapping the food or opening the drink may need both.

What if you need both hands?

Imagine you have a hot coffee in your hand. A car appears out of nowhere from a side turning. You cannot drop your coffee because you will scald yourself. You cannot throw it because you might scald your passenger. Yet you cannot keep holding it because you need your hand to turn the wheel the extra bit to avoid the emerging car. Seconds are vital in avoiding a crash. You do not have time to make these decisions.

When hungry or thirsty, the best thing you can do is stop the car and consume the items before carrying on with your journey. That way, you can give your full attention to the road when driving.

The roads will still be full of less cautious drivers distracted by their food or drink. Understanding how to hold a distracted driver to account will be crucial to getting the compensation you need in a car crash.



FindLaw Network

View All
Practice areas