The media, the police and lawmakers all warn people to stop texting while driving because it’s dangerous and causes accidents. It’s true that texting and driving definitely takes your mind off what you should be doing, takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. The more you keep your phone down as you travel, the better your chances are that you get where you are going safely.

However, it would be a mistake to think that you are safe as long as you don’t text and drive. Other behaviors behind the wheel could also put your life at risk. One of the oldest and most dangerous distractions behind the wheel is eating. How often have you seen other drivers enjoying a beverage or eating while driving? Each one of those people could cause you serious injuries at any time.

The food industry isn’t helping the situation

The invention of the drive-thru window revolutionized the restaurant industry. You no longer have to get out of your vehicle to get a wide variety of foods. Like most people, the smells coming from those paper bags may be too tempting to wait until you reach your destination. Maybe you only have a limited amount of time between destinations in order to eat. In any case, you find yourself eating as you drive, and it’s dangerous. Below are the most compelling reasons not to dip into those bags while you drive:

  • You must take at least one hand off the wheel to eat.
  • If you intend to eat a burger or some other sandwich, you will need to unwrap it, which could take two hands. At the very least, unwrapping that sandwich distracts you, if even for a few seconds.
  • You have no guarantee that what you are eating won’t end up in your lap, which would definitely require a substantial amount of your attention, especially if it’s messy or hot.
  • Taking a drink from your favorite beverage can obscure your vision while you drive.
  • If the lid isn’t securely on your beverage, it could spill, which would cause you to look away from the road and possibly even cause you to make erratic movements with the steering wheel.
  • Even if your passengers are the ones eating, it could distract you. The noises, the smells and the extra activity in the vehicle could all end up taking your attention from the road.

Even the remnants of a good meal on the go could distract you. Out of the corner of your eye, you could see bags, cups, bottles and other containers moving around. You may not think it’s that distracting, but if it’s there, it could demand your attention. Even if you manage to resist the temptation to eat while you drive, another driver may not. The best you can do is keep your attention on the road and hope you are able to avoid a driver who is distracted by eating behind the wheel.