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Is eating behind the wheel distracted driving?

It's something almost everyone does, and it doesn't seem dangerous in most cases. What is it? Eating behind the wheel while you drive.

Eating behind the wheel doesn't seem like it would be dangerous because you can keep your eyes on the road for the most part. The issue is that you may take your hands off the wheel or look away for a moment, and that can lead to a crash.

There are three types of distractions that may affect you if you eat behind the wheel. The first is a visual distraction. This happens when you have to look away to get your food out of the carry-out bag or retrieve a cup from the cup holder.

Manual distractions are the next type. They are when you take your hands off the wheel. For instance, if you hold a drink, at least one hand is off the wheel.

Cognitive distractions happen last. This is when your mind is not focused on the road. A good example is if you're thinking about what you're eating, sharing with passengers or otherwise engaged in activities that take your focus away from the road.

Any time you aren't focused on the road, it is a danger to yourself and others. As a person who drives frequently, it's a good idea to watch out for others who are eating behind the wheel, so you can avoid them on the roads. If you are impacted by someone who isn't paying attention, you can seek compensation for any injuries you suffer as a result of his or her negligence.

Source: Decide to Drive, "Eating While Driving," accessed June 30, 2017

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