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Eating While Driving – Nov. 16, 2013

We have written repeatedly on this blog about the dangers of distracted driving – particularly with regard to the growing problem of hand held personal electronic devices.  But distracted driving results from anything that causes you to take your eyes or attention off the road, or your hands off the wheel.  Eighty percent of all car accidents involve some type of driver distraction.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is a likely contributing cause of rear end collisions when one of the vehicles is stopped and single vehicle crashes where the vehicle leaves the roadway.   Some of the obvious consequences of this risky behavior include flipping or losing control of your vehicle, running off the road and colliding with stationary objects,  head on collisions, running other cars off the road and running red lights or stop signs.

One of the leading causes of distracted driving is eating while driving. While it is not illegal, it is a far too common, and potentially dangerous, behavior engaged in by individuals naturally trying to maximize their productive time.   Evidence indicates that it is not so much the eating as the spilling or dripping –as drivers shift their attention to quickly clean up the spill.  This is more pronounced in the morning, as people on their way to work are more concerned about soiling their work attire.  Food items that spill or drip are therefore bad choices if you engage in this type of behavior.  Such things as hot coffee or soup, tacos, barbequed items, hamburgers lead the list of messy, and therefore dangerous, foods for obvious reasons.

Following are some safety tips to help minimize the dangers of distracted driving when you drive:

    Remind yourself each time you drive to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

    Review maps before hitting the road.

    Do your personal grooming or makeup at home.

    Do not use hand held personal electronic devices.

    Use preset radio stations.

    Don’t try to retrieve items that fall to the floor.

    Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while driving. If you are traveling with someone, take turns eating and driving.

    Avoid taking calls while driving, or use a hands-free device.

    Teach your children the importance of good behavior in cars.

    Avoid stressful/emotional/confrontational conversations either with a passenger or on your cell phone.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a reckless driver, please contact our office for a review of your legal options.

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