We know that texting and other cellphone use while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because cellphones and electronics take our visual and/or mental focus off of the road and our hands off of the wheel. But what about other distracted driving behaviors, such as eating or drinking while driving?
Eating or drinking while driving might not seem so dangerous. After all, to take a sip of water or a bite of food may only require one hand and doesn’t necessarily take your eyes off the road. However, according to data recently released by Lytx, a global leader in video-based driver safety technology, eating or drinking while driving is almost just as dangerous as texting while driving or using a handheld or hands-free device.
Not only did Lytx’s research reveal that eating or drinking while driving increases a driver’s risk of being in or causing a crash but that eating or drinking while driving is one of the leading causes of traffic crashes, along with handheld or hands-free cellphone use and manual smartphone and tablet use. Here’s how these three most common and, apparently, most dangerous driving distractions rank:
- Drivers who manually operate a smartphone or tablet while driving are 4.7 times more likely to be involved in a crash
- Drivers who use a hands-free device to talk, text, or access an electronic device while driving are 4.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash
- Drivers who eat or drink while driving are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash
So while cellphone- and electronic-related distractions get all the attention, and for good reason, just remember that these aren’t the only distractions that can increase your risk of getting into a crash. Any distraction, from eating or drinking to putting on makeup to talking to passengers, can put you and others at risk if it takes your eyes of the road, your mental focus off the road, and/or your hands off the wheel.
Stay safe on the roads by putting away your cellphone and other electronics and by reducing any other possible distractions so that you can focus on the road.