Drivers are confident no matter their age or experience level. From drivers who have decades of driving experience under countless scenarios to new drivers confident they have the skill and reaction times necessary to avoid collisions – everyone behind a wheel is certain they are up to the task.
Unfortunately, this confidence often leads to a lack of focus and general carelessness. While most drivers recognize certain actions as dangerous – texting while driving is a prime example – other actions are so commonplace that the danger is often ignored. Many motorists consider dining and driving a necessary act. Whether it is breakfast on the way to an early class or dinner on the way home from a long shift at work, drivers dine. Unfortunately, these actions can take the eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel and mind off the act of safe driving.
- Drinking: It often seems as if vehicle manufacturers encourage drivers to have a sip while behind the wheel. With numerous cupholders all placed within easy reach, drivers can grab a bottle of water, can of soda or travel mug of coffee with relative ease. Unfortunately, this action often leads to preoccupied drivers who miss warning signs or traffic changes.
- Eating: From gas stations that are now miniature grocery stores to the proliferation of drive-thru restaurants along nearly every busy street, society encourages drivers to snack while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, just as drinking and driving, eating and driving represents a devastating distraction.
Driving distractions often come in three varieties:
- Manual distractions: Any action that takes one or both hands off the steering wheel.
- Visual distractions: Any action that forces the diver to look away from the road.
- Cognitive distractions: Any action that pulls focus or attention from the act of driving.
The problem is that dining and driving feels so encouraged that drivers tend to forget that it is distracting. Something as casual as taking a sip from a bottle of water can lead to a driver missing stopped traffic or drifting into oncoming lanes. Drivers must avoid any activity that is better accomplished until they have safely reached their destination. Unfortunately, serious motor vehicle collisions are a common occurrence.