When you think about distracted driving, texting while driving might be the first thing that pops into your mind. However, there are many other behaviors that can impact your safety and the safety of others when you are behind the wheel. Eating while driving is a seemingly innocent, yet potentially hazardous, driving behavior that can pull your attention away from the task at hand. 

Not all driving distractions are the same. In fact, there are three different types of distractions that can prove dangerous. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road, manual distractions involve taking your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions involve letting your mind wander away from the task of driving. Some distractions, including texting while driving, involve all three types of distractions. Eating while driving can also entail multiple distractions, from visual distractions while opening food packages to taking a hand off the wheel to eat your food. 

Statistics illustrate the impact driving distractions can have on your accident risk. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed that eating and driving could raise a person’s accident risk by as much as 39%. Fortunately, there are lots of steps you can take to diminish your risk of being involved in a distracted driving crash. 

If you eat breakfast in the car, wake up earlier to make time for the meal. If you find yourself hungry while traveling, pull over to a fast food restaurant and have your meal there. If you are hungry and on your way home from purchasing food, wait until you get home or pull over in a safe spot to have your meal. Just these simple steps can spare your life and the lives of others.