October is a great month for foodies. It’s Cookie Month, Eat Country Ham Month, National Pizza Month, National Vegetarian Month, National Popcorn Popping Month, Sausage Month and Seafood Month, just to name a few. Not to mention that it’s rounded out with Halloween’s pillowcases worth of trick-or-treating candy.
All this delicious food can make for one seriously distracted driver. According to a drivers.com poll, 65 percent of drivers reported eating and driving. Sipping here and there and grabbing a few chicken nibbles from the cup holder may not seem like a big deal, but eating while driving is actually a big cause of distracted driving.
Top 5 ways eating and driving can lead to trouble
When things like jelly, cheese, and crumbs fall onto your shirt, chances are you’re going to look down to assess the damage. Then you might reach around for some napkins to clean up the mess. Like any other form of distraction, taking your attention off the road increases your chances of being in an accident.
Burger grease, fried food residue, soda-can sweat — these are just a few of the things that can make your hands good and slick on your steering wheel, limiting your ability to get a good grip and safely drive. Imagine trying to make a left turn with sticky, gooey hands.
What’s the deal with coffee lids and their proclivity for jumping off the cup just as you turn onto the highway? Spilling scalding hot liquid in your lap can (for reasons that are more than evident) cause all kinds of distracted driving as you leap around your car in pain. Leave your morning Joe in the cup holder until you’ve reached your destination to avoid this type of mishap (and burnt thighs).
4. Wrapper trouble
Reaching across the car to grab a handful of candy from your little cousin’s plastic jack o’ lantern might seem harmless. But it’s a distraction in itself and only leads to more distraction. After all, when your fingers are busy fussing with the stubborn wrapper on a Tootsie Roll, you’re too focused on freeing the tasty treat to pay close attention to what’s going on around you.
5. Preoccupation with deliciousness
You’ve had a long, hard day, and nothing can make the world seem right again except a giant paper envelope full of hot, salty French fries and a thick chocolaty shake from the drive-thru. But while you’re enraptured with the sweet satisfaction of sugar and grease, you’re not paying attention to the road. And while French fries can be delicious (and comforting), they’re not typically much help when you’ve been involved in an accident.
Say “no” to eating and driving
Driving leaves no room for multitasking. So this month (and every month), unless you’re visiting a spot with carhop service or your favorite food truck, celebrate your favorite culinary wonders at a table instead of behind the wheel. And if you must eat in the car, pull over and turn the engine off.