Eating While Driving

I occasionally see posts asking for advice on what's good to eat while driving.

Do you think eating while driving is okay? Do you do it? Why or why not? Have you ever been in/almost been in an accident because of it?

My opinion: Anything that takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road is dangerous. I don't buy the argument that you don't have time to eat unless it's in the car.

I was involved in an accident due to the other driver eating while he was driving. He had dropped his food and got flustered.

My husband suffered permanent injuries from being hit by a distracted driver while riding his bike. The woman was texting at the time.

What's your opinion?
«1345

Replies

  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    I do it very rarely and only on rural interstates, never a good idea though. Just another form of distracted driving like cell phones.

    My son was on his motorcycle and was hit busting up his hip went a cell phone user rolled a stop sign.
  • BrettWithPKU
    BrettWithPKU Posts: 579 Member
    I have two rules:
    1. Do not do any distracting activities (including eating) in heavy traffic; and
    2. Do not do multiple distracting things at the same time.

    Whatever you eat, make sure there's not some sort of drippy sauce on it, or grease, and make sure you can eat it with one hand--with the other hand on the wheel.
  • PWRLFTR1
    PWRLFTR1 Posts: 324 Member
    edited July 2017
    Never eaten a "meal", but maybe a protein shake or candy and usually only for street driving. I'm a hell on wheels on the highway, so I need to stay focused due to all the idiots, talking/texting on their phones.
  • JeepHair77
    JeepHair77 Posts: 1,291 Member
    Eating what? I mean, no, we shouldn't eat anything requiring utensils, or something potentially messy or distracting, or requiring attention to wrapping or dipping or assembly...

    But I can certainly eat a granola bar or a peanut butter sandwich while driving, and while it's maybe not ideal, it's pretty low on the list of "distracted driving" priorities. I'm much more concerned about things like texting, talking on the phone, fiddling with an iPod or GPS system.
  • DamieBird
    DamieBird Posts: 651 Member
    OP, I have sympathy that your family has been so affected by distracted driving, so I understand why it's a sensitive issue for you. Some states/ municipalities even have laws against eat/drinking specifically or 'distracted driving' in general. When it comes to practicality, though - very few people are focusing on the road and driving as if they were in Driver's Ed and someone was grading everything that you do. Yes, it's ideal to keep both hands on the wheel, but that's almost ever going to be the reality. It's absolutely possible to eat or drink and still be a good driver and pay attention to the road. Maybe don't try to eat soup with a spoon and refrain if you're in heavy traffic, but there's nothing wrong with a sandwich, a snack bar, piece or fruit, etc.
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    I've eaten while driving, but never anything messy. Things like protein bars that only required one hand, and I've never done it in heavy traffic.

    I don't always drive with both hands on the wheel, and I don't think most drivers do. I always do when traffic is heavy, though. When I'm cruising along a deserted straight road? Nope.

    I don't fiddle with the radio. I find that too distracting. I might adjust the volume, though. I can do that without looking.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    I don't generally do it, as I'd rather not eat (until later, even much later) than eat in a way that takes away any pleasure from eating for me, makes it just a distracted thing. Also, I mostly drive alone (and not that much, admittedly), so no one can unwrap a protein bar or hand a sandwich to me, and without that I do find it overly distracting (and potentially messy). I don't find taking a drink from a water bottle to pose the same issue.

    Have I ever done it? Sure, but it's been quite a long time. I'm much more likely to sit in a parking lot and eat, worst case scenario.
  • mitch16
    mitch16 Posts: 2,114 Member
    JeepHair77 wrote: »
    Eating what? I mean, no, we shouldn't eat anything requiring utensils, or something potentially messy or distracting, or requiring attention to wrapping or dipping or assembly...

    But I can certainly eat a granola bar or a peanut butter sandwich while driving, and while it's maybe not ideal, it's pretty low on the list of "distracted driving" priorities. I'm much more concerned about things like texting, talking on the phone, fiddling with an iPod or GPS system.

    ^This.

    It's pretty shocking what I see people doing while they are driving during rush hour here in Boston--eating ramen with chopsticks, applying mascara/curling their eyelashes, smoking from bongs...
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,736 Member
    edited July 2017
    aylajane wrote: »
    I assume you object to drinking as well then? I e. no water bottle or anything? That would take your hands off the wheel, and block your vision during the drink.

    Also, changing radio stations. I know of several accidents because someone looked at the console to adjust the radio station.

    Cruise control? People tend to relax then if traffic suddenly slows down, they respond too slowly to hit the brakes because their foot is not "right there".

    People who do not have full use of both arms/legs? I.e. someone with a broken hand, or only one arm.

    Deaf people? Cant hear horns honking, ambulance/police coming, etc. For that matter, people who turn up the radio too loud.


    I dont think the problem is eating/drinking/changing radio stations so much... its the level of involvement and awareness. I .e everyone who drives a manual transmission has to "drive' with one hand at least some of the time. Most people, even if not eating/drinking, do not keep both hands on the wheel at all times while driving. Its not that people are bad at driving with one hand. Its when they do things like dropping their food (as the person above said) - what is their reaction? They look down to find it, they reach down to get it, etc. If they would simply let it go and deal with it when they come to their next stop, it wouldnt be an issue. Changing radio stations - not a big deal if you have presets and know which one you want, especially if its located on your steering wheel etc.

    Driving is a very coordinated effort that requires a great deal of attention and personal responsibility. Accidents can be caused by a wide variety of circumstances - some avoidable and personally responsible (texting, etc) some not (a wasp suddenly lands on your face and startles you - happens to me a lot where I live). Everyone should exercise the utmost caution and responsibility, but it is possible to eat or drink and not be any more "distracted" that someone using a stick shift who has to not only let go of the wheel with one hand, but find the right gear without looking, and while simultaneously working the clutch and the gas pedal - to me that is a lot to do at once, while trying to pay attention to the traffic and road etc. Someone taking a bite of a cereal bar is safer to me :)

    When my son started driving, I told him to think of the car as a 2 ton bullet that can easily kill someone. Treat it accordingly, and responsibly, but dont go overboard. Eating an unwrapped cereal bar is very different than eating a bowl of cereal while driving (and I have seen that as well).




    Just like shaving with an electric is very different from shaving with a cup and straight edge, have not seen, but spoke to an individual who witnessed it.


    YES, in traffic.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    I'm a road cyclist. A few years ago, I got hit by a car doing about 35 mph while I was doing hill repeats. The driver ran a red light that should have protected me, she was distracted.

    Humans aren't built to travel 70 mph and then stop suddenly. Diving is dangerous, to the people in the car and to everybody around them. That's a big responsibility, don't *kitten* up and hurt or kill anybody.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    My husband suffered permanent injuries from being hit by a distracted driver while riding his bike.

    God, I hate hearing or reading that.

    I'm sorry.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,082 Member
    Food is not allowed in the bimmer...
  • Crazyhoss59
    Crazyhoss59 Posts: 2 Member
    It's a pretty bad idea... it's hazardous, and it gets your car messy to boot.
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,803 Member
    aylajane wrote: »
    I assume you object to drinking as well then? I e. no water bottle or anything? That would take your hands off the wheel, and block your vision during the drink.

    Also, changing radio stations. I know of several accidents because someone looked at the console to adjust the radio station.

    Cruise control? People tend to relax then if traffic suddenly slows down, they respond too slowly to hit the brakes because their foot is not "right there".

    People who do not have full use of both arms/legs? I.e. someone with a broken hand, or only one arm.

    Deaf people? Cant hear horns honking, ambulance/police coming, etc. For that matter, people who turn up the radio too loud.


    I dont think the problem is eating/drinking/changing radio stations so much... its the level of involvement and awareness. I .e everyone who drives a manual transmission has to "drive' with one hand at least some of the time. Most people, even if not eating/drinking, do not keep both hands on the wheel at all times while driving. Its not that people are bad at driving with one hand. Its when they do things like dropping their food (as the person above said) - what is their reaction? They look down to find it, they reach down to get it, etc. If they would simply let it go and deal with it when they come to their next stop, it wouldnt be an issue. Changing radio stations - not a big deal if you have presets and know which one you want, especially if its located on your steering wheel etc.

    Driving is a very coordinated effort that requires a great deal of attention and personal responsibility. Accidents can be caused by a wide variety of circumstances - some avoidable and personally responsible (texting, etc) some not (a wasp suddenly lands on your face and startles you - happens to me a lot where I live). Everyone should exercise the utmost caution and responsibility, but it is possible to eat or drink and not be any more "distracted" that someone using a stick shift who has to not only let go of the wheel with one hand, but find the right gear without looking, and while simultaneously working the clutch and the gas pedal - to me that is a lot to do at once, while trying to pay attention to the traffic and road etc. Someone taking a bite of a cereal bar is safer to me :)

    When my son started driving, I told him to think of the car as a 2 ton bullet that can easily kill someone. Treat it accordingly, and responsibly, but dont go overboard. Eating an unwrapped cereal bar is very different than eating a bowl of cereal while driving (and I have seen that as well).



    There are things you can control and things you can't. A driver can't choose to not be deaf or disabled.

    I don't mean to be a total hardliner here...I think that there's a big difference between sipping a water bottle and eating your entire breakfast on your way to work (which is what people often ask for advice on).

    Of course there will always be distractions. You can't totally eliminate them, I just want people to think about how they can minimize them.

    That is great advice that you gave your son.
  • nevadavis1
    nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
    I have witnessed a woman driving on a crowded highway, using both hands to hold a cheese burger and driving with her elbows. No good.
  • Dnarules
    Dnarules Posts: 2,080 Member
    I do it all the time. I always have one hand on the wheel.