Eating behind the wheel: a dangerous distraction

Many in Shelby may perceive dangerous driving to only include those practices that are blatantly negligent, such as being intoxicated or texting while behind the wheel. In reality, there are a number of other actions that many undertake while driving that can also impair their abilities. Chief among these is eating while driving. Most consider eating to be such a natural action that it requires little to no thought at all. Yet when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists the actions that can be most distracting to drivers, it includes eating right near the top. 

Just how dangerous can eating while driving be? Information compiled through a joint effort between The Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows that those who eat or drink while behind the wheel are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not. When considered in conjunction with the fact that research conducted by ExxonMobil reveals that 70 percent of drivers admit to eating while driving, this statistic should be quite alarming. 

Why is eating while driving so distracting? Consider the actions that go into eating. One must grasp whatever is being consumed and direct it towards his or her mouth, all while trying to avoid spills on his or her clothing. Doing this while driving requires one to take one (or sometimes both) of his or her hands off the wheel and divert his or her eyes and attention away from the road ahead. These actions may take only a brief moment, yet often that is all that is needed to cause an accident that produces devastating results. 

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