How Common Are Car Accidents Due To Eating While Driving in Boca Raton?
Gregg Hollander | October 3, 2022 | Car Accidents
While car accidents in Boca Raton have many causes, you might be surprised by how many result from behavior as seemingly innocuous as eating while driving.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents across the country. With technology being so ubiquitous, it’s no surprise that many Americans are tempted by various distractions while driving.
When most people think of distracted driving, the first thing that comes to mind is texting, talking, swiping, or another form of cell phone use. However, distracted driving also encompasses actions like eating while operating a motor vehicle.
Many activities fall under the umbrella of distracted driving, including drinking, eating, and even focusing too closely on a vehicle’s navigation system.
The numbers don’t lie. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), distracted driving is responsible for the deaths of roughly nine people per day while injuring approximately 1,000.
In 2021 alone, Florida saw 333 fatalities involving distracted driving. Remember, distracted driving refers to anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the operation of their vehicle and driving their car in a safe and conscientious manner.
The CDC lists three primary types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions cause a driver to take their eyes off the road; manual distractions prompt them to take their hands off the wheel; and cognitive distractions take their minds away from driving altogether.
The CDC reports that distracted driving was the cause of more than 3,100 deaths and around 424,000 cases of injury. To make matters worse, about one-fifth of the people who lost their lives in these accidents were walking, riding a bike, or performing some other activity that didn’t even involve a vehicle.
Eating While Driving Is Dangerous
Drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles responsibly. This includes observing the rules of the road, following posted signs, and prioritizing the safety of themselves and others.
Regardless of how benign it may seem, eating while driving is a form of multitasking. If you’re focused on snagging another French fry, you’re probably not focused on oncoming cars or crosswalk traffic.
Here are a few other ways eating while driving can have potentially lethal consequences.
Decreased Dexterity and Readiness
Anyone with a Driver’s License knows that driving requires two hands. To feed yourself on the move, you must have one or both hands off the wheel, even if it’s only for a split second. Like it or not, this hinders your reaction time and reduces your time in contact with the wheel and other manual controls, greatly increasing your chances of getting into an accident.
Lack of Focus
Eating while driving means splitting your attention between what’s going into your mouth and what’s going on the roadways outside your vehicle. Dividing your attention in this way could easily cause you to fail to notice a semi in your blind spot, a car slamming on its brakes in front of you, or a child running into the street unexpectedly.
Diminished Reaction Time
Reaction time is paramount when operating a vehicle — it can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel (or, more likely, both) can severely hinder your reaction time, thereby increasing your odds of getting into an accident. Conversely, maintaining your focus allows you to respond as needed to the ever-changing flow of events unfolding around you.
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