We all know drinking and driving is bad news (as well as being illegal) but what about drinking a latte instead of a beer?
According to a study conducted by Brunel University in London, eating or drinking while you drive doubles your chances of crashing your car. More than that, the research also shows that two out of every three near-misses are caused by drivers distracted by eating or drinking while they drive.
And while there are laws in place to prevent you driving while alcoholically challenged, or from sending a status update while sitting at a stop sign (it doesn’t matter if the car isn’t moving, it’s still illegal!) South African road traffic legislation says nothing about chomping down on a burger and chips on the way home from the drive-through.
Maybe it should, says Dialdirect Insurance’s Bianca de Beer. Earlier this year a driver in the UK was fined £145 (more than R3000) for eating a banana while driving, on the grounds that she was ‘endangering other road users’. And in April the Dubai federal traffic council proposed that eating and drinking while driving – as well as applying make-up, taking a selfie, reading, watching television and even smoking! – should be regarded as traffic violations punishable by a 1000 dirham (R4300) fine.
Criminal record – for eating a banana!
“Most of us avoid driving after drinking alcohol, or checking our screens until we get there,” De Beer said, “but many of us snack at the wheel when we’re in a hurry, or just plain hungry. It’s often overlooked, but that can be more distracting than a conversation with the passenger next to you.”
Anything that can mess or spill not only stains your car’s upholstery, but a spill – especially anything hot – inevitably creates a distraction for the driver, and makes you look away from the road.
According to an analysis of food-related insurance claims from insurance.com, these are the most 10 dangerous things to eat or drink while you drive:
Wraps (or any kind of saucy sandwich)
“We need to put down our sandwiches and just focus on the road when we’re driving,” De Beer said. “While you’re trying to catch up with friends or grab a quick snack you risk a collision or, worse still, hitting a pedestrian.
“We know time is precious,” she said, “but lives are even more so.”