OP-ED: Eat at the wheel? Don’t turn your vehicle into a cafe

Friday, March 6, 2015 - 13:51
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Eating while driving doubles crash risk

Attempting to eat or drink while driving is a distraction estimated to double a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash. Additionally, it’s an offence punishable either by fixed penalty ticket or under careless driving legislation.

Anything that takes our attention away from the driving task will increase a risk of collision but often too many drivers don’t see the problem in unwrapping a pasty, sip a coffee or taking a glug from a bottle on a journey.

Driving is a complex enough task already, so trying to do anything else at the same time makes the journey riskier because you’re not fully focused on the driving task. If something goes wrong, you’re likely to react more slowly because attention is elsewhere.

“Good, experienced drivers accept that eating and drinking at the wheel are dangerous, so they won’t allow these distractions to compromise safety.” said GEM chief executive David Williams and offers the following points for reducing risk on journeys:

  • Make sure you are always in full control of your car. That means both hands – and all your brain – on the driving task. Focusing on anything else is a distraction that will increase the risk of a collision.
  • Plan your journeys so there’s time for snack and drinks breaks built in.
  • Stop somewhere safe, such as a proper parking area or motorway service station.
  • Don’t believe any drivers who say they can multi-task safely while driving.

Do you eat at the wheel and feel it’s safe to do so? Can’t stand the thought of taking out another mortgage so you can buy a Ginsters pasty at the service station so eat sandwiches on the go? Let us know in the comments below.