Jason Stephens | November 16, 2022 | Car Accidents
Eating while driving constitutes a form of distracted driving. In the United States, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car-related fatalities. A recent survey found that 56.7% of Americans admitted they eat while behind the wheel. That’s over half of those polled!
In Texas, eating while driving is not specifically against the law. However, it is possible for those driving in Texas to be cited for distracted driving if they cause or contribute to an accident while eating behind the wheel. Similarly, if someone is eating and swerves out of their lane, they could be cited for an improper lane change.
Eating Requires One or Both Hands
People don’t usually think of reaching for that cheeseburger as an impediment. Unfortunately, the situation is taking their attention away from the road, as it requires them to remove one or both hands from the wheel.
Fast food is often given to customers in paper bags. The food must be manually removed from the bag and held in your hand in order to consume. This twofold process is far more demanding of your attention than it initially seems. After all, it only takes a second for a car accident to occur.
But it’s not just fast food. Can you remove leftover food from a container using only your mind? The truth is consuming any food can provide the little distraction necessary to slow your reaction time.
Even Passengers Eating Is Dangerous
Passengers eating in your car can also be a serious distraction. Most fast food is cooked with enzymes designed to stimulate the brain and influence hunger. This means if you smell it, you’re thinking about it. Along those same lines, the sounds of food being chewed or slurped can be very distracting.
While eating and driving is not illegal, the state of Texas has passed several laws that aim to reduce specific instances of distracted driving. For example, the city of Austin passed a law allowing police to cite you if you look at a text at any time while driving unless you are at a complete stop.
While you may not be pulled over for eating while driving, it could cause you to exhibit some degree of carelessness that might get you pulled over. If you have ever taken a defensive driving class, then you know firsthand that the two biggest factors of safe driving are making good choices and minimizing risk. Eating while driving is a serious risk.
How to Avoid Eating While Driving
Eating while driving may seem unavoidable. After all, the modern world is very demanding and necessitates a constant hustle. Many hardworking people are practically living out of their cars. While that is certainly a sign of the times, some safety precautions can be taken.
Eat in the Parking Lot
Eating in the parking lot instead of on the road gives you ample time to focus on your food instead of putting others at risk. Once you have finished your meal, you can even throw your wrappings away in a trash receptacle and keep your car from looking cluttered.
Eat Before You Leave
Similar to eating in the parking lot, eating before you leave your house gives you time to enjoy your food before you hit the road.
Don’t Keep Food in Your Car
Instituting a no-food rule for your vehicle is a great way to keep yourself and your passengers from becoming distracted. If your passengers can’t bring food into your car, then you won’t be distracted by any enticing smells.
Contact an Attorney if You’ve Been in a Distracted Driving Accident
If you’ve been in a distracted driving accident related to eating and driving, you could be entitled to substantial compensation. Contact Stephens Law to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim.
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107