Drivers who eat while driving run the risk of paying more for car insurance. It’s a fact, although it’s not officially one of the questions on an application for auto insurance. Eating while driving is one of the most distracting things you can do, according to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Eighty percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve driver distraction. According to NHTSA, “Distraction was most likely to be involved in rear-end collisions in which the lead vehicle was stopped, as well as in single-vehicle crashes.”
Distractions like eating can become a problem for drivers who can’t react quickly to a sharp curve or another driver’s sudden stop. Unfortunately, just one accident may increase your car insurance rates as much as 25 percent.
Here are the top-10 foods to avoid while driving:
1. Coffee. Even with a travel lid, hot coffee can find its way out of the opening when you hit a bump.
2. Hot soup. Many people drink it like coffee and run the same risks.
3. Tacos. Any food that can disassemble itself will leave your car looking like a salad bar.
4. Chili dogs. Huge potential for drips and slops down the front of clothing.
5. Hamburgers. From the grease to the toppings, it could end up on your hands and the steering wheel.
6. Ribs and wings. What’s more distracting than licking your fingers?
7. Fried chicken. More greasy hands. You’ve got to wipe them off while you’re driving.
8. Jelly donuts. It’s not possible to eat one without watching the center.
9. Soda. Carbonation. Fizz in the nose. Lids that leak. Disaster.
10. Chocolate. Try to clean melted chocolate off the steering wheel without swerving.
How widespread is this food problem?
Exxon surveyed 1,000 drivers and discovered more than 70 percent of drivers eat while driving and 83 percent drink beverages. The NHTSA study cites these driver distractions as the top reasons for car crashes — and ultimately higher auto insurance rates:
1. Using a cell phone. Calling for carry-out?
2. Reaching for a moving object. Flying French fries?
3. Looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle. Where is Starbucks?
4. Reading. Or tweeting for the closest BBQ?
5. Applying makeup. Every second counts!
— McClatchy Newspapers