When Mississippi residents think of distracted drivers, they likely think of drivers who text or look down to adjust their radio. There are any number of activities that can make one inattentive to the road, but one that tends not to be noted is eating and drinking. Like any other distracting activity, though, this can seriously raise the risk for a car accident.
To be specific, the risk can go up 3.6 times according to a 2014 study from the telematics company Lytx. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that eating and drinking out of an open container, a “secondary task distraction,” makes a collision or near-collision nearly 39% more likely.
There are three types of distractions: cognitive, visual and manual. Cognitive distractions cause a driver’s mind to wander from the important task of keeping their car under control while visual distractions take their eyes off the road. With a manual distraction, drivers take one or both hands from the steering wheel.
Drivers may want to look at the list that NHTSA has of the 10 most dangerous foods and drinks. It includes barbecued foods, hamburgers, tacos, soup and coffee. Ideally, drivers should avoid all eating and drinking on the road, and when on long road trips, they should try to safely pull over.
Victims of motor vehicle collisions who find out that the other driver was eating or distracted in some other way may have a case against him or her. Filing a personal injury claim can be hard, though, since auto insurance companies might try to have victims settle for less than they deserve. It may be a good idea to hire a personal injury lawyer. The lawyer may start by evaluating the case under Mississippi’s pure comparative negligence law.