Posting in Food
Could eating behind the wheel be more dangerous than drinking and driving?
We're all aware of the perils of drinking and driving, as well as the dangers of texting behind the wheel. But what about eating? Far from being frowned upon, the entire drive-thru industry caters to the behavior.
But a recent study examining driver reaction times found that response times of drivers eating behind the wheel increased by 44 percent, while drivers drinking from a bottle or can behind the wheel saw response times increase by 22 percent. By comparison, drivers texting while driving saw a 37 percent increase in response times, and people driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 experienced 12.5 percent increases.
The study, which controlled conditions using a driving simulator, also found that drivers drinking while driving were 18 percent more likely to need to make corrections in their steering in order to stay within their lane. According to the researchers, the multitasking required from having to unwrap food or drink from a bottle diverted the driver's attention from steering the car.
‘It is widely accepted that the distraction of talking on a hand-held mobile phone may increase accident risk' said Prof. Samantha Jamson from the University of Leeds. ‘Other activities that involve taking one hand off the wheel, such as eating or drinking, may also cause distraction, particularly when drivers take their eyes off the road in order to reach for or unwrap items,’ she added.
That eating behind the wheel would cause distraction seems like common sense. But how many of us have had a near-miss while munching on a sandwich and a soda? Considering the warnings against texting and driving, not to mention driving after consuming alcohol, should we not be more vigilant about eating behind the wheel?
via [Left Lane News]
May 6, 2012
One more outcome of the driving and eating/drinking crowd ...... dumping the wrappers and beverage containers into the streets and highways. (oink, oink!) Here's an idea: why not just sit down for a few minutes in the restaurant or burger joint, enjoy your snack, check your texts, then drive off into the sunset. I guess that would be much too easy.
How can anyone with half a brain believe the statement that texting while driving is less dangerous than eating while driving??!! Unless there are other factors involved that the author neglected to report. Or as Mark Twain said "First collect the facts, then distort them at your leisure" which must have been what was done here. Maybe we could look at who commissioned this study and that might give us some answers as well. I have never attempted to text while driving hell, I can barely text while standing. And I rarely eat while driving although on occasion I have attempted this feat, but usually it is with something along the lines of fries or maybe onion rings on the very rare occasion that it has been anything else (burger, sandwhich etc) I have been with someone else that can handle the "de-packaging" of the product. As far as drinking? That's what straws are for. I understand where all this "intrusive behavior" is coming from though. I once worked for a company that required you to wear safety glasses in certain areas. While one of the employees was entering this are he reached up to put on his safety glasses (while walking) and proceeded to poke himself in the eye. Yep, you guessed it the next day they came out with a memo regarding a new policy. You could no longer walk down the hall while putting on your safety glasses. You must be stationary to install any safety gear...because one guy with a single digit I.Q. can't walk and put on safety glasses at the same time.
As several others have said: This is totally ridiculous. The study is flawed. Unless they studied involved people with low I.Q.'s. When a nation/city/state/ has to make laws to govern such things, you know that that nation, etc. is on a downward spiral. The more laws and regulations on things like this leads to a nation's demise. That's my 2 cents worth on the subject. Thanks
One day I was rushing home from duty, I got a bad hot dog on the side of the road so I threw it out the car window, it hit the windshield of the van behind me. Since that day I have never littered again. Seriously, we assume risk everyday just by driving. If you can't handle the idea of risk to the point of preemptively regulating the conduct of really benign stuff than you should take the bus or train. I saw a girl picking her nose while driving her Prius, I laughed so hard I almost had an accident, shall we make nose picking a crime as well?
Like an earlier writer, I find it hard to believe that blindly taking a bite out of a ham sandwich with no messy condiments while looking straight out the windshield has similar risk to eyeballing a phone's miniscule keyboard and display. You don't even have to lean your head back to take a drink of a cold beverage from a straw. I've seen as many vehicles poorly controlled by drivers in animated conversations with live passengers as by drivers on cell phones. What about turning your head 150 degrees to look at kids in car seats? And I've successfully dodged getting hit by a jerk eating soup with a spoon in his right hand and holding the bowl with his left. Is eating soup with a spoon the same as taking a bite of a ham sandwich with no messy condiments? They're both eating, right? I try to use mass transit, but for trips where the schedule is impossible or there is no mass transit I am a lot more alert - call that safer - on an interactive cell phone call than getting hypnotized by being alone in the quiet or passively listening to a radio or iPod. Let's stop the futility of trying to itemize and make illegal every possible stupid thing a driver can do and in the process making illegal what's perfectly safe when done by most drivers. Most jurisdictions have laws against reckless driving or words to that effect. If I get hit by someone eating soup the cop has good reason to write tickets not only for hitting me but for reckless driving, and the judge has good reason to sentence appropriately.
I can pick up a burger and take a bite without looking away from the road, just as I can adjust the air conditioner without looking at the controls. Taking a drink requires tilting your head back, though you may not be too distracted. Texting requires looking at the phone, and devoting attention to it, for several seconds at a time. It's really, really difficult to believe the results of this study. If they're counting drivers dealing with food packaging, getting their burger out of the bag, etc., then yes, I can see how that would take longer than sending a text. I personally never eat in the car when I'm alone. If I go through a drive-thru by myself, it's in order to take the food somewhere else to eat it. If I eat in the car, it's always because I'm with someone else who can deal with the packaging. (Or if I'm the passenger, I can deal with the packaging so that the driver doesn't have to.) I guess they added that caveat: "Particularly when drivers take their eyes off the road in order to reach for or unwrap items".
I find it hard to believe that texting is less distracting than eating. One doesn't have to concentrate to eat a hamburger but, while texting, one has to formulate what one wants to text and then concentrate to hit the correct keys to text it. If one is looking at the road while engaging the keys, most of us would have to concentrate that much harder. We all know statistics lie. Flawed studies lie too! I suspect a major flaw in the study.
Looking anywhere but at the road for even a second at 60 miles per hour and you've traveled 90 feet. It gets ridiculous - human's should not be allowed to drive at all - go computers - by article's conclusion! It is pretty obvious, it will be illegal for humans to drive in the near future if studies keep analyzing our driving.
I also disbelieve that eating (not dealing with the packaging) while driving is much safer than texting. Although I do occasionally eat alone while driving from a fast food restaurant, I always unwrap the sandwich or whatever it is before I leave the parking lot of that restaurant or wait for a stoplight to unwrap it. Either way, I move either a very small amount or none at all while unwrapping the food.