A new report suggests that ‘eating behind the wheel’ is more dangerous than drink driving or using your phone. Researchers at the University of Leeds found that reaction times of motorists who ate while driving were up to 44 per cent slower than usual. When sipping a drink, responses were up to 22 per cent slower and drivers were 18 per cent more likely to experience poor lane control.
By comparison, a study undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory found that motorists who used their phones to send text messages were 37.4 per cent slower to react while alcohol at the legal limit slowed reaction times by 12.5 per cent.
Professor Samantha Jamson, from the University of Leeds, commented “it is accepted that the distraction of talking on a hand-held mobile phone may increase accident risk. However, other activities that involve taking one hand off the wheel, such as eating or drinking, may also cause distraction. Drivers take their eyes off the road in order to reach for or unwrap items.”
Eating, drinking and smoking while driving is not illegal but drivers can be charged with careless driving if police believe they are not in control of their vehicle as a result.