Eating While Driving Riskier Than Being Legally Impaired By Alcohol Or Texting

Would you believe that eating food while at the wheel of a vehicle could be more dangerous than drinking or texting while driving?

According to a study by the University of Leeds called “Two Hands Better than One,” this is exactly what researchers found based on observation of test subjects operating driving simulators.

The UK researchers measured reaction time while drivers negotiated virtual vehicles, and as it turns out, eating increased response times by 44 percent.

In contrast, texting increased reaction time by 37 percent, and drinking a non-alcoholic beverage from a can or bottle increased reaction time by 22 percent.

And what about the one driving no-no that that nearly everyone agrees is undesirable – drinking alcohol and operating a vehicle?

Drivers asked to operate the simulator who were at the U.S. “legal limit” of .08 percent blood alcohol content increased reaction time by 12.5 percent.

We have heard no word yet on whether Mothers Against Drunk Driving will now open an auxiliary unit focusing on the ill effects of fast food drive-in lines and convenience stores.

Seriously though, distracted driving is a real problem – as is following too closely, we’ll add.

Common sense dictates that drivers can compound their chances for an accident if they do not self-govern and recognize their limits. And as the study indicates, a distraction can come in several forms – even ones that have been considered benign.

In fact also, different people have different levels of skills, psychological temperaments, tolerances, and in short, what one person may get away with, could be deadly for another.

For example, studies on alcohol consumption and driving have shown some habitual drunk drivers did so dozens of times before actually being caught by the law.

For one thing, researchers found habitual drunk drivers can be practiced at hunkering down and focusing as much of their waning attention ability on the task at hand, for fear of being busted.

In contrast, eating while driving is a time-honored tradition – and big business we’ll add – and perhaps this could create a false sense of security?

Much more could be said about this subject which the U.S. Department of Transportation has been up in arms about in recent years, labeling distracted driving an “epidemic.”

Bottom line is be safe, and stay in control. Try to recognize what will distract you and as a word to the wise: don’t do it.

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  • AP

    For an idiot who has to take their eyes off the road to eat, it is possible that eating could be worse than texting. For the rest of us, no way.

  • FamilyGuy

    I’m sure that when the first radio went into a car, it was a big deal as a source of distraction. Especially those old ones where you have to turn a dial to find a station instead of just pushing a button.

    Even talking to someone in the next seat can be just as much as a distraction.

    Just be smart.

  • Van

    Talk about twaddle! Slowed reaction time does not even begin to address the hazard of driving under the influence. Our judgment is also impaired. Recall the drunk drive who “t” boned the car killing four. Your article is written to the effect that it would more likely caused by a guy downing a drive through meal. At what point do we all shout “leftist lies!”

    The problems are we drive too fast for the conditions, i.e beyond our vision in fog, resulting in 30 car and truck pileups, we do not maintain sufficient space in front of us to allow side traffic to merge, and we take our eyes off the road to look at our navigation, cell phone, food, or an accident.

    In the near future an alarm will go off when something enters the “safe zone” in front of us, telling us to back off and recover the safe zone to stop the bell. Far more useful than making it a crime to eat a big mac!

  • Jeff Cobb

    Hi Van,

    You wrote: “Your article is written to the effect that it would more likely caused by a guy downing a drive through meal. At what point do we all shout “leftist lies!”

    And

    “In the near future an alarm will go off when something enters the “safe zone” in front of us, telling us to back off and recover the safe zone to stop the bell. Far more useful than making it a crime to eat a big mac!”

    ###

    My friend, you are entitled to say what you want within reason, but please understand I am not a leftist, nor is the slant of this write-up.

    I thought the study has an interesting finding, and was reporting on what the researchers said, and no where do I go beyond and advocate legislation to control any new findings.

    On the contrary,

    I wrote:

    “Common sense dictates that drivers can compound their chances for an accident if they do not self-govern and recognize their limits.”

    And

    “In fact also, different people have different levels of skills, psychological temperaments, tolerances, and in short, what one person may get away with, could be deadly for another.”

    And

    “Bottom line is be safe, and stay in control. Try to recognize what will distract you and as a word to the wise: don’t do it.”

    If you will read a little more closely, I am advocating freedoms, and allowing for the reality that individuals vary, and not saying let’s shackle them all with a uniform new law.

    I dare say, this article is leftist-lie free. :)

    Thanks for reading!

  • jazzbuff630

    I find it particularly hard to eat lobster while driving a stickshift vehicle on a rush-hour freeway, so I just stick with Cheez-Wiz, the aerosol food approved by the AAA.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    Women putting make-up on while driving has to top the list….well, almost the top..

    MrEnergyCzar

  • Capt. Concernicus

    I think we should just write an article that says, “Humans. Stupid Beyond Belief.” I think that would sum us up nicely.

    I mean look. One poster on here couldn’t wait to blame the article on the leftists. His article would probably be titled, “Safety and knowledge. Not that big of a deal.”

    I just wouldn’t let this article get posted in bars.

  • johnstockwell

    There are a lot of people get complain about when he or she is cited for their excessive blood alcohol level upon being stopped for a traffic violation. fetal alcohol

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