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Food is a distraction: Here's why

Most people have done it. They've been hungry while driving and quickly got in line at a local fast-food restaurant, so that they could drive up and grab a bite to eat. While this seemingly harmless task happens often, it's not without risk. Enjoying what you're eating behind the wheel can lead to a crash.

The National Highway Traffic Administration found that eating is a greater distraction than using a cellphone behind the wheel. With that in mind, here are a few other reasons you should avoid eating and driving.

1. Eating can obscure your vision

The first problem is that eating can obscure your vision. While your tipping a drink to take a sip, you could be blocking your ability to see. Paper wrapping around your hamburger or other food item could also get in the way, making it hard for you to see while you're traveling. It's best to avoid driving with food in your hands whenever possible.

2. Clutter creates distractions

With fast food comes the reality that you're going to have trash remaining in your vehicle. As that trash adds up, it causes a serious threat to your safety. It may fall onto the floor and distract you, could get stuck under a pedal and make it hard to drive or stop, or cause other issues. Get a trash bag for your car if you plan to eat inside, but do your best to park and eat, taking the take to throw out your trash, if you can.

3. Eating takes your eyes, hands and mind off of what you're doing

Finally, remember that eating does take your hands off of the wheel. Your mind may be focused on what you're eating and not on what's happening around you. Your eyes may be looking away from the road, too, leaving you open for errors that could lead to a crash. If you intend to buy food, take the time to park. Distractions are a major cause of collisions, and you don't want to be at fault for a crash that leads to injuries or deaths.

It is easy to avoid collisions caused by eating behind the wheel. All you have to do is remember that eating can be a major distraction, and you don't have to let those distractions happen in your vehicle. If you stop at a drive-thru, stay in the parking lot and eat. It might take a few minutes, but during those few minutes, you can enjoy the food you've purchased without having to worry about vehicles all around you.

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