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Just how dangerous is eating while driving?

The dangers associated with drinking and driving are well known, and the risks of texting or talking on your cell phone while behind the wheel have gained much more exposure in recent years. Could there be, however, another form of reckless driving that may be equally as dangerous yet you and others in Naperville are unaware of? Indeed there is; eating behind the wheel is another major driving distraction, yet one that few appreciate. 

If you have recently been involved in an accident, and the driver that struck admitted to eating something as they were driving, consider exactly how that action might have contributed to your collision: 

  • The driver had to take at least one hand off the steering wheel in order to grasp whatever was being eaten
  • The driver had to focus their attention on what they were eating
  • That change of focus forced them to take their eyes off the road ahead

Detailing that sequence of events reveals just how distracting eating while driving can be. In fact, those same three forms of distractions (manual, cognitive and visual) are what both The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Auto Alliance recognize in their joint study as being what makes eating while driving so dangerous. 

Adding to that danger is the prevalence of the activity. Research conducted by Exxon-Mobile revealed as that much as 70 percent of the population surveyed admitted to eating while behind the wheel (80 percent also confessed to drinking beverages while driving). While people may think that eating is such a mindless action, the fact that those who eat while driving are 3.6 times more likely to be in an accident than those who do not shows just how dangerous such an action can be. 

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