Dining and driving – an often-overlooked distraction

Posted on March 31, 2021

Throughout Utah, roads can become dangerous due to the safety obstacles presented by distracted drivers, drowsy drivers and impaired drivers. Whether on city streets or the highways that crisscross the state, drivers must remain diligent in identifying and avoiding hazards that lurk around every corner. Unfortunately, many distracted drivers think they are safely operating their vehicle even while engaged in unsafe activities.

Namely dining and driving.

While almost everyone keys in on obvious distractions such as sending a text or applying makeup while behind the wheel, eating and drinking is so commonplace that it is often overlooked. Whether they are sipping from a travel mug of coffee on the way to class in the morning or munching a drive-thru bag of fries on the way home from a long shift at work, society is so accustomed to seeing drivers dining that it gets ignored. Unfortunately, these activities easily become distractions.

  • Manual distractions: The driver must remove a hand – or two hands – from the steering wheel to select the food and bring it from the passenger seat to their mouth.
  • Visual distractions: The driver will generally look at the food or drink he or she selects, but the distraction can get worse from there. Tipping a travel mug or soft drink container up to get the last few drops can hinder a driver’s view of the road. Additionally, spilled food or drink will immediately pull a driver’s eyes to the mess to attempt to clean it up.
  • Cognitive distractions: Any activity that pulls a driver’s focus and mental energy from the act of driving is a distraction. From thinking about where to stop to get food, to thinking about the food while you are eating, a driver can quickly become dangerous.

Most people agree that distracted driving is bad. However, not everyone agrees on what constitutes a distraction. In general, anything other than the act of driving itself can be considered a distraction.

Motor vehicle collisions can result in devastating injuries that can lead to mounting medical debt and time spent off work recovering. It is important to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney.