Drivers in Connecticut may be vigilant when it comes to avoiding phone use behind the wheel, but they should also be aware that something as common as food and drink can become a source of distraction, too. It’s a good idea to avoid eating and drinking while on the road, and if drivers are on a long trip and cannot wait, then they could pull over to the side of the road. Doing otherwise is not worth it as it endangers one’s self and others.
A 2014 Lytx study found that drivers who eat and drink are 3.6 times more likely to crash. Eating and drinking from an open container is a “secondary task distraction,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, and it raises the risk for a crash or near-collision by nearly 39%.
Eating and drinking pose a cognitive, manual and visual distraction. Briefly, cognitive distractions take drivers’ mind off the road while visual distractions take the eyes off the road. Manual distractions force drivers to take one or both hands off the steering wheel.
Drivers should, at the very least, refrain from certain foods and drinks over others. NHTSA has a list of 10 high-risk items, and these include chocolate, cream-filled donuts, hamburgers, barbecued foods, tacos and coffee.
When distracted drivers cause motor vehicle crashes, they may find that their insurance company will have to face a claim from the injured party. Victims, for their part, may want a lawyer to assess their case under Connecticut’s modified comparative fault rule, which states that plaintiffs can recover damages if they are 50% or less at fault. Of course, being partially at fault will lower the amount that one might recover in damages, so victims may want a lawyer to negotiate for the maximum possible settlement.