It’s pretty normal for people, especially those on long drives, to take snacks and drinks with them. Drinking nonalcoholic beverages and eating in your vehicle isn’t illegal, but if you get into a crash with someone because they were consuming food or beverages, then you could have a case against them for reckless driving.
Eating and drinking anything while driving is distracting, which is why it’s possible to face penalties for reckless driving and to be at-fault for a collision if that distraction causes a crash. Fortunately, it’s simple to avoid this issue. All you need to do is pull over before you eat or drink, save the food for when you’re parked at a fast food restaurant or plan stops during your trip to get something to eat.
What makes eating behind the wheel dangerous?
The primary reason that eating behind the wheel is dangerous is because it takes your focus off what you’re doing. For instance, it may take your hands off the wheel while unwrapping a hamburger or punching a straw through a drink lid. You may become distracted because a hot or cold drink spills and injures or surprises you. If you choke on something, you may panic and focus more on your medical condition than the road, which may lead to a collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that anyone who eats or drinks behind the wheel is around 39% more likely to get into a near-miss or collision than attentive drivers. This is why it’s better to avoid doing so when possible.
Where can you safely eat or drink?
You have options to avoid crashes. Eat while you’re in the passenger seat and the other person is driving. Opt to pull into a rest stop to get something to eat and drink, and don’t leave until you’re finished.
You may also eat before driving or once you reach your destination, so that you don’t have as high of a risk of a crash, choking, spills or other issues.
If you’re struck by someone who was eating at the time of a crash, then they may be liable for your injuries, and that’s something you may want to address in a personal injury claim.