Most people in Florida recognize the great effort paid in recent years to raising awareness as to the dangers of distracted driving. Yet much of that awareness focuses solely on the dangers of texting while driving.
While cell phone use behind the wheel certainly does increase the risk of a car accident, there are many other forms of distracting activities that most likely do not appreciate. One in particular is so common that experts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claim it to be the cause of almost 80% of all car accidents.
Eating and drinking while driving
The aforementioned distracting is eating and drinking behind the wheel. Many may not consider this to be a distraction due to these actions being so natural (and thus, almost second nature). Yet information compiled in the joint research effort between the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons seemingly proves otherwise.
Their work highlights the fact that eating and drinking while driving forces one to engage in the following forms of distraction:
- Manual: Actions requiring the use of the hands
- Cognitive: Actions requiring attention
- Visual: Actions requiring one’s vision
Cumulatively, the process of grasping a drink or food item (and then focusing in on that item as one consumes it) may only take a few seconds. Yet during that interval, one behind the wheel of a vehicle may have traveled a hundreds of feet (all while not having their full attention on the road ahead).
Identifying eating and drinking as the cause of a car accident
Yet one who realizes that their actions contributed to a car accident may be slow to admit that. Therefore, a driver may not confess to have been eating when they struck another. However, clues such as opened food wrappers or drink containers in the vehicle (or fresh stains on a driver’s clothing) may provide sufficient proof.