Eating while driving: Is it really that dangerous?


Most drivers are aware of the fact that distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Likewise, most people associate distracted driving with cellphone use while behind the wheel. This typically includes texting, talking on the phone, using a navigation system or even using social media.

Phones are one of the most common sources of distraction for Tennessee drivers, but that is not the only dangerous behavior that could threaten your life and the lives of others. Eating while driving, while seemingly a benign activity, can be incredibly dangerous and have devastating consequences for drivers, passengers, and others.

Three types of distraction

You may think that you can safely eat a burger and drive your vehicle at the same time. While that may be true, eating while in control of a vehicle exposes drivers to three main types of distraction. These include:

  • Visual distraction: This includes anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. Even a split second of looking at something other than the road ahead can have devastating consequences.
  • Manual distraction: This type of distraction includes anything that causes a driver to remove one or both hands from the wheel. Reaching for food or eating can cause manual distraction and increase the chance of an accident.
  • Cognitive distraction: This involves anything that takes a driver’s focus off the task at hand. Even with both hands on the wheel, if a driver’s mind and thoughts are somewhere else, this can lead to accidents.

Distracted driving is always dangerous, and it is always preventable. People often participate in this type of activity because they believe that what they are doing is not that dangerous. Eating while driving may not seem risky, but it is technically a type of distracted driving, which makes it a danger to everyone.

What should I do after a distracted driving accident?

If you were involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you may be unsure of what you should do next. Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, you have the right to know your options, such as your potential option for a civil claim. A complete case evaluation with an experienced attorney can determine the most appropriate course of action for your situation.

Eating is not a crime, but when a person’s choice to eat while driving negatively impacts your well-being or that of a loved one, he or she may be financially liable for any physical, emotional or financial damages suffered.