Lots of people still try to eat and drive at the same time. Driving is a complicated activity, but it can seem simple to experienced drivers who have been performing this task for years. There are points where driving involves waiting, and people might feel that their hands are free.
No one’s hands should be regarded as free when they’re operating a motor vehicle. They need to be alert because their situation could change instantaneously. People shouldn’t be trying to quickly drop whatever is in their hands in order to grab the steering wheel of the car again. It might take less than a second for people to drop whatever they’re eating, but that’s enough. A fraction of a second can already make a huge difference during a particularly tense moment on the road.
Even the people who criticize distracted drivers sometimes feel that eating while driving is different from using a smartphone while driving. People already frequently eat while they work at their computers. It’s common for people to eat without really focusing on the process of eating itself or the food.
However, a driver who eats while driving is still absolutely a distracted driver. Eating is a relatively simple activity, at least compared to texting and conversing with other individuals. People are still usually using two or more of their senses while they eat. While eating doesn’t usually require a lot of thought, it’s still often difficult to eat completely mindlessly.
People also have to use at least one hand to eat. There are drivers who even try to eat with utensils when they’re driving, even if they don’t look at their food at any point. Trying to keep a container of food steady in a car can be very distracting. Still, the individuals who stick to eating finger foods in their cars won’t be fully paying attention to what’s happening on the road. They also won’t have the full use of their hands in a context where it’s particularly important. Drivers who eat this way in order to save time should consider the full costs of trying to multitask in this manner.
Individuals who eat while driving often decide to do so because it’s tough for them to find time to eat before they commute. Most commutes are time-consuming, and people feel the need to fill in that time with something. Eating at home sometimes feels like a waste of time to the individuals who try to make sure that they’re busy every moment of the day.
It’s important for people to remember that they are busy when they’re driving, even if it does not always feel like that. People are seated when they’re driving, but that does not mean that they’re being inactive as they drive. Many forms of work in the modern world don’t require a lot of intense physical activity, but people do recognize that they should try to avoid multitasking too much while working.
Some people also overestimate their ability to drive and eat simultaneously. However, the research demonstrates that people don’t react quickly enough when they drive and eat. Staying in the same lane is also much harder for drivers who are texting, driving, or both. Drivers should never assume that these trends will not affect them.
The consequences of eating and driving simultaneously can be incredibly severe. Many automotive accidents are directly caused this way. Drivers who have never been involved in an automotive accident should consider how frequently they drive, and how often they’re distracted by other tasks when they drive. They can prevent future car accidents by becoming more focused on the road.