Eating and Driving: Is It Dangerous?

Nowadays, everyone is in such a hurry to get to work, go to school, or run errands that they don't make time to sit down and eat. Instead, some people try to multitask and make eating a part of their commute. While this might seem like a great, time-saving idea, eating while driving is a form of distracted driving, which you should never do.

Statistics on Eating and Driving

In 2020, 3,142 people lost their lives due to distracted driving, which averages out to around eight people a day. While not every of one these people were eating while driving, it shows how deadly any kind of distracted driving can be. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that you're 1.57 times more likely to be in a crash when eating. Reaching for your sandwich across the seat is not much safer, increasing your odds of a crash by 1.38 times.

The Zebra conducted a survey in 2021 stating that 52.5% of polled drivers admitted to eating while behind the wheel. Avoid being a distracted driver and either park and eat, or eat before you leave. 

The Hidden Dangers of Eating in a Moving Car

There aren't any states that specifically ban eating and drinking while driving. However, some states have laws that allow police to ticket you if you are driving recklessly due to eating. Here are some examples of how eating while driving can make you drive recklessly:

  • Dropping a french fry and then trying to find it so you don't waste it. You'll likely start swerving as you take your attention away from the meal.

  • Wiping away crumbs. This takes your hands off the wheel.

  • Cleaning off sauce that's dripped on your clothes before it stains. Trying to look at the stain and the road at the same time is just not possible.

  • Getting slippery hands from eating fried foods or greasy pizza. This may make it hard to make a quick turn of the wheel or shift.

  • Splashing hot tea or coffee on yourself. You don't want a burn to distract you, causing you to wreck your car.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

While eating or drinking isn't the most common form of distracted driving, you should still avoid doing it at all costs. The most cited act of distracted driving is using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Both of these, along with other types of distractions such as noisy passengers, loud music, and even drowsy driving, are easily preventable.

Start your drives by eating beforehand and being well-rested. Next, load up your GPS, start some music, send that text, or do anything else you need to do before you start driving. Finally, if you are driving with others, ask them to keep the volume down to avoid being a distraction. 

Put Down Your Food and Focus on the Road

Make some time in your schedule to sit down, enjoy your food, and even spend more time with your family or friends. Plus, you'll avoid the risk of getting into an accident due to distracted driving. Another way to learn all of the potential dangers of distracted driving is by signing up for a driver's ed course at You'll learn the rules of the road through fun lessons that you can complete from anywhere on any device.

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Updated 11/17/22