Monday, May 28, 2012

Is Snacking the New "Distracted Driving"?

Eating and driving.

In recent times, the media spotlight has been honed onto the notion of distracted driving and the amount of accidents that have occurred as a result of it. Originally stemming from drunk driving, distracted driving now includes a myriad of factors - tired drivingtexting and driving, and now, most recently, snacking while driving! If you've been guilty of chowing down on a messy burrito supreme or trying to slurp down an ice cream sundae behind the wheel, you may want to reconsider.

Over in the United Kingdom, the University of Leeds conducted a study that found the reaction times of drivers was up to 44 percent slower if they were attempting to eat and pilot a car simultaneously. When food was changed into beverage, the reaction time was 22 percent slower. The research was compared to another study conducted by the UK Transport Research Laboratory, which found that texting drivers were only 37.4 percent slower while messing around on their phones. Interesting that food is more dangerous than a smartphone, eh?

According to the research, the actual act of eating the food wasn't the most dangerous culprit involved in snacking and driving. It was the act of drivers taking a hand off the wheel and their eyes off the road in order to reach for or unwrap a piece of food. As far as safety concerns go, that makes a lot more sense than just eating in the car. I know firsthand as I've had moments like that in the past, such as when I once tried to eat a Dairy Queen Blizzard in the car. Trying to drive, balance melting ice cream, and a spoon all at once, is not the easiest feat! Perhaps that is an added benefit of not snacking while driving- you'll keep the interior of your ride nice and clean! 

Do you have any food stories of your own to share? What's the messiest food you have tried to eat while driving?

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