The Dangers of Eating at the Wheel


Are you a fan of munching on the move? Far too many of us are guilty of grabbing a bite to eat while dashing around the place. Heck, I have memories of my dad driving us to the beach as children, ice-cream in hand as he manoeuvred around county Clare. However, too few realise the danger that snacking behind the wheel poses to both yourself and other drivers.


The Dangers of Eating at the Wheel


Picture this. It’s a busy Monday morning as you’re whizzing along the motorway to work armed with a bitter petrol station coffee and a croissant for good measure. In this scenario, the best outcome is you arrive at the office with a coffee stain on your skirt or a lapful of crumbs. Far less tragic than the alternative.

In a report by the Institute of Transport Studies, researchers have discovered that eating while at the wheel can slow a driver’s reaction times significantly, cause unnecessary distractions and may lead to reckless driving. Grabbing that sneaky chip from the McDonald’s bag perched on the passenger seat seems like a good idea when you’re hungry but enjoying that snack while in control of a vehicle could make your reaction time 44% slower in the process. Similarly, taking a sip of that Starbucks latte or drive-thru fizzy drink can slow your reaction time by 22%, making collisions and fatalities far more likely.


Biting off more than you can chew


Unwrapping a treat while at the wheel takes your eyes off the road and your focus off the task at hand making you twice as likely to be involved in an accident and the RSA reports that 20—30% of collisions can be attributed to driver distraction. 54% of drivers in the UK have admitted to eating while driving and a survey conducted by the AA showed that in Ireland, drivers have even been spotted eating cereal at the wheel. I’m not talking about a muesli bar here. Bowl, milk, spoon, the lot. Risking your life for Coco Pops? No thanks.

The moral of the story is that as tough as it may seem at 8am on a drizzly day, your morning coffee can wait until you arrive safely at your destination. Put down the fast food bag and pry the sandwich from your hands when you’re in the driver seat and give the road your undivided attention. If like me, you tend to get a bit hangry when you haven’t been fed, make time for breakfast in the mornings before you set off, or have an energy-boosting snack before any long car journeys to help tide you over and keep those hunger pangs at bay while on the go. We all love to eat and eating in a rush takes the enjoyment out of food anyway, so pull over and enjoy that feast in a bit more comfort – your digestion and fellow road users will thank you.


Alex Todd Brand Manager at Its4women commented "If you feel the need to eat or drink, listen to your body – it needs a break, fluid or energy. But please not while you are driving."


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