It’s probably no surprise that 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve driver distraction. But identifying those distractions—and confirming whether a particular distraction is the cause of an accident—may be harder to prove.
According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, (www.vtti.vt.edu) eating while driving is one of the most distracting things a driver can do.
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 such as eating can become a problem for drivers who can't react quickly to a sharp curve or another driver's sudden stop, and the associated claim may increase rates as much as 25%, notes Insurance.com (www.insurance.com).
The Cleveland-based online insurance aggregator lists what they have determined are 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 ooze out.
9. Soda. Carbonation. Fizz in the nose. Lids that leak. Disaster.
10. Chocolate. Try to clean melted chocolate off the steering wheel without swerving.
Besides eating, notes Insurance.com, the other typical distractions insurers are tracking include using a cell phone, reaching for a moving object, looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle, or applying makeup.
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