Know the risks of drivers eating behind the wheel

Your daily commute to work may eat up a significant portion of your day. Quite a few people in the Pittsburgh area commute 30 minutes or more to and from work every day. It is common for people to multitask during their commute.

Some people might listen to radio analysis of the stock markets if they have a financial career. Others might use a hands-free headset to make a couple of phone calls before they get to the office. Quite a few people also choose to eat their breakfast or drink a coffee on their way to work in the morning.

It may seem innocent and safe enough, especially because 70% of people admit to eating while driving. However, eating while driving is a kind of distraction that can be incredibly dangerous for you and the other people on the road.

You’re taking your hands and your mental focus off of driving safely

Driving requires your full mental focus to ensure that you arrive safely. If you aren’t paying attention, you might not notice that the driver in front of you slammed on their brakes or see in time a child who darts out into traffic.

As if it weren’t risky enough having your mind and eyes focused on your food, you may also have both hands off the steering wheel. Some people attempt to steer the car with their knees to free up their hands for breakfast.

The precious seconds it takes to get your hands back on the steering wheel could make the difference between arriving at work as usual and missing a day because of a major crash.

Food and drinks can be a source of risk

As dangerous as it is to take your hands and mind off of the steering wheel, that isn’t the riskiest thing about drinking and eating at the wheel. Food or beverages you enjoy can cause an accident by spilling onto your pants or shirt or burning your mouth or your hand.

It isn’t illegal to eat and drive, but it is usually a mistake

Technically, under Pennsylvania law, police officers can’t ticket you just for eating or drinking at the wheel. However, they can cite you if they witness you engaging in dangerous behaviors while driving. They can also allocate responsibility for a collision to you because of the distraction.