The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies three distinct types of driving distraction:
- Visual -- not watching where you're going
- Manual -- taking your hand or hands off the wheel
- Cognitive -- allowing your mind to drift from the task of driving
Compared to some of the other distracted driving habits on our list, this one might seem relatively tame. After all, it doesn't demand all that much cognitive horsepower to stuff your gullet while on the move.
But before you get too enamored of underway refueling, consider some of the things that could go wrong:
- You could spill scalding coffee on your lap
- That breakfast sausage muffin or deluxe burger could collapse in your hands, sending crumbs, sauce and patty pieces all over your work outfit
- Greasy hands or one-handed driving means less control of the steering wheel and shifter
In each of these cases, drivers face a potential domino effect where impaired attention plus an unexpected event lead to loss of control.
Solution: Eat before or after you get behind the wheel; to chow down during your drive places you and others at risk.
Next up, could vanity cause an automotive calamity? Find out on the next page.