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Eating and Driving

Updated on March 6, 2011

I just saw someone eating a hamburger while driving -- not on empty rural road, but on a busy intersection while making a left hand turn.

Are we so time constraint these days that we have to multi-task eating and driving now? Is fast food not fast enough that we have to "drive thru"? Is drive thru not fast enough that we have to eat it while driving home or to work?

It's like we don't have time to walk in a sit and eat a hamburger even though it take 30 seconds for McDonalds to serve us one. (According to an answer in, the average serving time is advertised as less than 30 seconds at McDonalds)

I'm writing this in February 2011. But I bet you don't see people doing that in the 1930's Maybe fast food was not in fashion back then. I'm not saying I was alive back then either. But anyways, my point is that people seem to be so time-constraint these days.

Eating and driving seems unusual to me because I prefer to eat while sitting down at a table. Much more comfortable that way. I personally don't eat and drive. Maybe once in a rare moon (like once in a couple of years), I might actually eat "finger food" while driving. But the person was eating a hamburger, which is not exactly finger food. And it is not a small hamburger either, it was either a Quarter Pounder or a Whopper -- something that usually requires both hands to eat. But I suppose it is possible to manage it with one hand if one really try.

Some people are more adept at eating food while driving than I am. Perhaps they have more practice. 85% said that it was possible for them to eat the Crunchwrap Supreme with only one hand.[1] But to be fair, that product by TacoBell was specifically designed for those who eat while driving. This was reported by Houston Chronicle which says that it is an "a six-sided soft tortilla that folds up like origami and keeps everything where it belongs — in your mouth."[2] Why fast-food chains are encouraging eating while driving, I don't know. Article also mentions that 70% of Taco Bell's business is from its Drive-Thru. That means most people don't have time to stop inside Taco Bell, they only have time to drive-thru.

Why Do People Eat And Drive

People have longer commutes and less time. So they are tempted to save time by multi-tasking while driving.

According to [1]

  • 68 percent says they do it to save time
  • 37 worry about the mess and spills
  • 33 worry about the safety

Woah! That mean people are more concerned about getting food on their clothes than on the dangers of eating and driving. They better take a look at the below section of this article titled "When Eating and Driving Gone Wrong".

Prevalance of Eating and Driving

According to a survey, 45% responded saying that they had been eating while driving within the last 30 days. says that almost 30% of Americans eat in their cars within once or twice a week.[1] reports a higher figure of 70% percent of drivers eat while driving and 83 percent drink beverages. It also happens to mention that hamburger is number 5 among the top 10 foods to avoid while driving. It says that "Eating while driving is one of the most distracting things you can do." And adds that "Eighty percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve driver distraction."

The goes as far as to say that it even more dangerous than using a cell phone...

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found eating and driving is more dangerous than using a hand held cell phone while driving."

In a driving simulator test, it showed that crash risk doubles when eating and driving[3].

Eating and Driving Gone Wrong

Susan Miles write in another hub about the distractions that people do while driving. She say that "Everyone I know, including myself, eats in the car" -- including a friend of hers that wrecked a new car in the parking lot while reaching for a snack. Luckily, no one hurt.

CarTalk radio program had one caller who was spreading jam on her bagel while driving (although at a stop-light). And the jam fell into the shifter. She was caller 7 on the show who called in to ask advice on how fix this this because how the shifter is hard to shift. The hosts of the show Tom and Ray gave her advice as well as a reprimand for eating while driving. They did say this is really dangerous. If you have never listened to CarTalk, it is really funny.   You not only get car advice but you also get jokes too.   Read this Hub linked here about CarTalk.

Although it is not illegal to eat and drive (yet). Police can cite you for negligence if they see that your eating is hampering your driving. It varies from state to state. But Washington State defines "negligent driving" as ...

"the failure to exercise ordinary care, and is the doing of some act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances or the failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances." [reference]

After seeing some erratic driving on Central Avenue, police in Needham Massachusetts arrested man for eating a bowl of cereal and milk while driving. [ref: in 2009]

News article titled "Truck Driver Blames Chili for Crashing into Home" says a driver choked on some chili that he was eating when his flatbed truck hit a bump. This caused him to pass out, veered off the road, and into a house.

Do you eat and drive?

Do you eat and drive?

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    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 7 years ago

      I agree. The only thing worst than eating fast food is eating fast food while driving.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      I often think about this, while a rarely eat while driving, unless popping a peice of gum in my mouth counts, I see people driving around stuffing themselves with, what seems to be little to no consideration for safety or health.

      I feel people think their in a secret bubble in their cars and what goes on there stays there, or doesn't leave there, secrets. Fast food is bad for us period and we should not eat while driving.

      I hope they pass a law to make it illegal, we need to slow down, stop to eat and smell the flowers. Great report and thank you for your careful research and delivery. Peace :) Katie