Moody, Salzman, Lash & Locigno, Attorneys & Counselors at Law
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Eating while driving: A deadly distraction

Nearly every driver has faced the same challenges – desperate to save time and multi-task while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, anything that takes attention from what's going on around the car can ultimately be dangerous to us and other drivers. Distractions can be lumped into numerous categories and while Florida has several laws in place to punish cell phone use, drivers can still be distracted by eating, reading, personal grooming, manipulating a GPS unit, manipulating in-car audio systems and arguing with passengers.

Many drivers consider eating while driving a minor distraction at worst. It’s easy, they reason, to reach into the passenger seat and grab some chips or a cookie or a bite of sandwich. Unfortunately, even a momentary glance away from the road can be dangerous. Here are four reasons why you should never eat while behind the wheel.

  1. Eating will take one if not both hands off the wheel. One of the main types of distraction is the “manual distraction.” The removal of hands or feet from control surfaces impacts a driver’s ability to react to what’s happening on the road. Eating while driving will invariably force the hands off the steering wheel leaving safe operation of the vehicle up to chance.
  2. Even taking a drink can be dangerous. Drivers who are not eating will generally have something to drink in the car. From a fast-food soda to a morning coffee, drinking while behind the wheel could possibly be the most common distraction. From adjusting a straw to unscrewing a bottle’s lid, drivers will often be forced to split focus.
  3. A passenger’s food can be distracting. While talking to a passenger can be a distraction, having that passenger attempt to talk to you with a mouthful of food can be worse. Worse still, is that passenger trying to share food with you.
  4. Cleaning up the clutter can be messy. It’s not uncommon for a younger driver to be on the final leg of a journey home. He or she looks around the cabin of the vehicle and sees food wrappers, spilled fries, an empty soda can in the back seat and a handful of napkins fluttering in the breeze. The driver makes a mad dash to attempt to clean up the mess before the parents can see it. This not only becomes a manual distraction, but a visual distraction also as the driver hurriedly looks around the car while driving.

While nearly anything can be considered a driving distraction, drivers must remain focused on the road. Whether you are a younger driver or one with decades of experience, it is wise to avoid any sort of distraction while driving.

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Moody, Salzman, Lash & Locigno, Attorneys & Counselors at Law

Moody, Salzman, Lash & Locigno, Attorneys & Counselors at Law
2770 NW 43rd Street
Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32606-7419

Phone: 352-559-8019
Fax: 352-377-2861
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