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Analyzing the dangers of eating and drinking while driving

Impaired drivers are among the greatest threats encountered on Kansas City's roads. When people hear the term "impaired driver," they likely automatically assume it to mean a motorist that is intoxicated. Yet drivers can be impaired by things other than alcohol. Distractions can greatly inhibit one's driving skills. The use of cell phones while driving is typically pointed to as the most common type of distraction plaguing drivers today. There may be another, however, that is even more widespread yet still equally as dangerous. 

Many motorists will not think twice about eating or drinking while driving. Drive-thru fast food restaurants seemingly invite this activity, as do automakers themselves by incorporating cup holders into vehicle designs. However, there is an inherent danger in eating and driving. Most assume eating and drinking to be such natural and instinctive actions that they would not cause distractions, yet that is not the case. Information shared by the website edriving.com shows exactly how these activities effect people while behind the wheel: 

  • Slowing reaction speeds by 44 percent (when eating)
  • Slowing reaction speeds by 22 percent (when drinking)
  • Inhibiting the ability to stay in the same lane by 18 percent (when drinking)

Those who might dispute these figures may want to consider the types of distractions eating and drinking while driving cause. One must take at least one hand off the steering wheel to secure food and/or drinks, while also diverting both his or her attention and vision away from the road (even if only for a moment). 

According to a study conducted by ExxonMobil, 70 percent of drivers admitted to eating while driving (83 percent also admitted to drinking beverages while behind the wheel). Given these numbers, it might not be stretch for one to automatically assume that this activity likely had a role in his or her car accident. 

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