Most people in Walton County would likely agree that distracted driving ranks among the most serious threats local motorists face. Where disagreements may arise is the source of those distractions.
Were one to ask what is the primary cause of distracted driving, the most common response might be cell phone use. In reality, however, there may be a much more common driving distraction (one that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates may be responsible for as many as 80% of all car accidents) that, while typically overlooked, is equally as dangerous.
Eating and drinking while driving
Automakers design cars to be a veritable “home away from home,” with added conveniences all the way down to cup holders. One might argue that the inclusion of such features essentially encourages drivers to eat and drink while behind the wheel. Yat according to information shared through a joint research effort between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance, those who eat while driving are 3.6 times more likely to experience a car accident than those who do not.
Why is eating while driving dangerous?
Eating seems like such a natural action; why, then, could it be so dangerous? One must consider the actions that go into eating. Hands must grasp food, while one’s gaze helps to both direct food towards the mouth and guard against spills. These actions may seem innocuous enough while at the dinner table, yet when performed while sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, taking one’s attention away from the road (if even for a moment) coupled with not having both hands on the wheel can be a recipe for disaster.