Avoiding Traffic Accidents: Eating While Driving

We all know that using a mobile phones in vehicles is both dangerous and illegal. My Compensation recently published a blog post on the subject whereby we also looked at texting and driving. While mobile phones and the use thereof is extremely commonplace in everyday life (and so easily highlightable as a danger while driving) what about other activities? Eating and driving is a commonly-overlooked part of the life of a motorist. Earlier on this year, research displayed some rather shocking statistics regarding the subject.

How Dangerous is Eating Food While Driving Your Car?

As is often the case, especially with figures which can be varied and inconclusive such as those from vehicle crashes which happened on our roads, the statistical data depends on where you look. However, some figures published by The Telegraph earlier on this year Illustrated the fact that reaction times dropped by some 44% if drivers were indulging in a snack. Whilst sipping on a beverage, drivers reaction times were reduced by 22% and they were 18% more likely to demonstrate poor control over road lane positioning.

The legal limit of drinking alcohol slows reaction times by over 12% while sending a text message and driving has been measured at some 37%. Interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, having a conversation via mobile phone on a hands-free kits will still lower your concentration levels by some 26%. Across the pond in the US, a study back in 2009 suggested that 80% of crashes happening on the roads were as a result of people eating. While this data is now somewhat out of date, it's interesting nonetheless.

The Recent Statistics at a Glance

  • While eating, reaction speed is lowered by 44%
  • While drinking, reaction speed is lowered by 22%
  • You are 20% more likely to experience bad control over the lane
  • At the legal alcohol limit, reaction speed is lowered by 12%
  • Whilst texting, reaction speed is lowered by over 37%
  • While talking on hands-free, your reaction speed is lowered by over 26%

What Can We Learn from This Data?

There is a fairly good spread of statistical evidence of how much your reaction speed is lowered when engaging in these activities, and the comparisons really put the dangers of eating and driving into context. Here at My Compensation, it certainly surprised us that eating food was by far the biggest culprit as it's one of the least discussed with regards to taking your attention off the road and potentially causing an accidental collision. As we discussed in the blog over the past few weeks, the number of deaths on our roads has increased for the first time in a very long time. We hope you keep this information in reaction speed drops in mind when travelling in the future.




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