It may seem as though you are constantly inundated with information meant to inform you (and others in Middlebury) of the dangers of using your cell phone while driving. Such awareness has no doubt help curb its usage, but it may also lead many to believe that such an action is the only (or at least the most dangerous) driving distraction. In reality, there are a number of other forms of driving distractions, many of which can be even more prevalent than texting or talking on the phone while driving. 

Chief among these is eating while driving, which (according to information compiled in a joint effort between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance) makes one 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a car accident. How can eating be so distracting (when it seems to be something that people do so naturally)? While the individual actions required to eat might cause only momentary distractions, their cumulative effect can serve to pull a driver’s eyes and attention away from the road, which then limits their ability to quickly react to events that occur in front of them. 

The prevalence of eating while driving makes it potentially an even more dangerous driving distraction than cell phone use. Indeed, research results reviewed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that as many as 80% of car accidents may be due to eating while behind the wheel. 

How can you tell if the driver that caused your accident might have been eating while driving? Look for subtle signs on them or their vehicles, such as food stains on their clothing or food wrappers and beverage containers strewn out in their vehicles.