How Common Are Car Accidents Due to Eating While Driving in Miami, FL?
June 17, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Car Accidents
Almost every driver has eaten while driving at least once. When you’re in a hurry to reach your destination, it can be tempting to eat in the car instead of taking the time to stop and have a meal.
However, did you know that eating while driving not only legally counts as distracted driving, but it also comes with a greater risk of getting into an accident? And in a busy city like Miami, car accidents due to eating while driving can be even more common.
Eating Food While Driving Is a Type of Distracted Driving
According to the CDC’s definition of distracted driving, eating food while driving qualifies as distracted driving. At a minimum, it is a manual distraction, which means that you need to take at least one hand off the wheel to eat.
Additionally, for many people, it is a visual and cognitive distraction. It is a visual distraction if you take your eyes off the road while eating the food, and it is a cognitive distraction if your mind is on the task of eating rather than driving.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Despite being considered distracted driving, over 50% of Americans admitted to eating while driving in 2021. This is more than twice as many that admit to texting while driving.
While the CDC maintains statistics on how many deaths and injuries result from distracted driving every year, it doesn’t separate those numbers based on the type of distraction. So it’s not clear how many accidents eating while driving in particular causes.
The statistics do show that distracted driving results in roughly 3,000 deaths and over 400,000 injuries every year — and Florida is no exception. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 333 people in Florida lost their lives due to distracted drivers in 2021 alone. That was the highest recorded number in at least eight years.
Why Eating While Driving Is Dangerous
Eating while driving increases the likelihood that you will get into an accident. The most dangerous moment while eating is typically when you are reaching for food. This often requires you to remove at least one hand from the wheel and divert at least part of your attention to the food. Furthermore, many people avert their eyes while reaching for food.
Taking your eyes off the road is extremely dangerous. While driving at 55 miles per hour, every second that your eyes aren’t on the road, you travel approximately 60 feet. Even a few seconds of looking away from the road can mean you travel hundreds of feet while effectively blind.
How to Avoid Accidents Due to Eating While Driving
The best way to avoid getting into an accident due to the distraction of eating is to ensure you only eat in the car if your car is stopped. If you are hungry and have food in the car, pull over to a safe location to eat it. Alternatively, if you can, switch driving duties with another person in the vehicle.
Unfortunately, this only solves half the problem. Other drivers may be distracted due to eating and present a danger to you as well. To avoid accidents with other distracted drivers, keep a close eye on what others are doing.
If you see another driver eating a burger or a snack, assume they aren’t paying as much attention to the road as they should. Give them plenty of room, and be ready to brake suddenly.
Eating While Driving Accidents in Miami, FL
Miami is a popular tourist city, which means many drivers have a limited amount of time to explore it. They may save time by eating while driving. Be wary of this danger, and you can decrease your risk of getting into an accident caused by distracted driving.