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How distracting is eating and drinking while driving?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2020 | Firm News |

Oftentimes the actions that lead to a car accident in New Jersey may seem so deliberate that you cannot help but wonder what could have possibly caused the driver that hit you to engage in them. When no apparent reason is easily identifiable, it may be only natural for you to assume driver distraction played a role.

Yet what if the driver insists that they were not using their phone at the time? Many might assume that distracted driving only equates to using a cell phone to either text or talk while behind the wheel. In reality, however, there are a number of different driving distractions. One is incredibly common (and often overlooked), yet can be just as distracting as texting or talking while driving. Indeed, some experts estimate that eating and drinking while driving may be responsible for as many as 80% of all car accidents.

Examining common driver distractions

Eating and drinking seem like such natural actions that you may not even classify them as distracting. Yet if you consider the commonly identified types of driving distractions, you see that eating and drinking behind the wheel hits all three of them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are:

  • Visual distractions: Actions that pull one’s eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions: Actions that require one to pull their hands off the steering wheel
  • Cognitive distractions: Actions that pull one’s attention away from the road

Identifying if eating and drinking while driving caused your accident

Yet it may be difficult to get the driver that caused your car accident to admit to eating or drinking at the time. However, signs such as fresh food stains on a person’s hands or clothing, or open drink containers or food wrappers in a vehicle might serve as an indication.