Many drivers in Texas and across the U.S. are involved in accidents because they let themselves be distracted. Distractions can come in various forms, and one of them is through the simple activity of eating and drinking.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that something as simple as eating or drinking out of an open container can increase the risk for a crash by 39%. A 2014 study from the telematics company Lytx found that drivers who eat or drink are 3.6 times more likely to crash than an attentive driver is who does not eat or drink.
Eating and drinking can pose a cognitive, manual and visual distraction. These are, in fact, the three main types of distractions. Cognitive distractions take one’s mind off the road while visual ones take the eyes off it. Manual distractions cause one to take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Then there are the distractions that come with spilling food or drink.
The NHTSA has a list of the 10 most high-risk foods for drivers, and it included hamburgers, tacos, jelly-filled donuts and fried chicken. Drinks included soft drinks and coffee. Drivers should try to avoid these and, ideally, all foods behind the wheel. If they are on a long trip, they can consider pulling over to eat.
Distracted driving is a form of negligence, no matter what causes it, and it’s the subject of many personal injury claims filed by the victims of car accidents. Even those victims who were partially at fault may file a claim if their degree of fault does not exceed the defendant’s. To see how their case would fare, victims may want to meet with a lawyer. The lawyer, if hired, may gather the necessary evidence and handle all negotiations for a settlement.