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A Potentially Dangerous Combination: Coffee and Driving

According to a study by the Exxon Mobile Corporation, 83% of American drivers admit to drinking nonalcoholic beverages while driving. At first glance, this statistic doesnt seem very frightening, however, recent statistics say that drinking or eating while driving may be more dangerous than texting. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that 65% of close call car accidents and 80% of all car accidents are caused by distracted driving due to eating or drinking.

Coffee is the most often consumed beverage in vehicles and studies show it is the worst possible of all drinks to have in a car. Coffee is hot and its because of its temperature that most problems arise. Even with a lid, a bump in the road can send droplets of scorching hot liquid on your mouth, hands and lap which undoubtedly causes accidents. Fizzy soda also made the list for their tendency to over-fizz onto the drivers hands and lap. Hot foods are also road dangers because of their hands-on eating requirements.

Coffee can also be blamed for driver err by contributing to health effects from a caffeine crash. Everyone has downed a late night espresso when an emergency comes calling or reached for that extra-large black coffee to get through the 3 p.m. energy slump. The energizing effects are immediate and helpful but when they wear off the opposite occurs. Drivers experiencing a caffeine crash can easily make a driving error.

Distracted driving is usually associated with texting and cell phone use but eating and drinking are huge contributing factors. Its always the best idea to wait until you are stationary to eat and use a drink with a straw. Anything that takes a drivers attention from the road is considered distracted driving and that includes coffee drinking. The statistics on deaths from distracted driving are harrowing with thousands of people dyeing each year. The government informational site dedicated to distracted driving, distraction.gov, lists several unexpected examples of distracted driving:

  • Talking to other passengers
  • Brushing and fixing hair
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading or checking directions
  • Using a navigation system or GPS
  • Watching videos
  • Adjusting the radio station or volume , CD player, or MP3 player

After being involved in an accident witah a distracted driver, victims should seek medical help immediately. Once medical attention is underway, victims should attempt to document any available evidence of the driver being distracted. This could include taking photos and asking for names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Victims should convey all evidence and any reason for thinking the negligent driver was distracted when the accident occurred.

Experts say the best chance of avoiding a distracted driver is to drive with your bright lights on. This can get the attention of a distracted driver and divert his attention back to the road. They also suggest to keep right in the road. Keeping to the right avoids the slicker, center lane of the road where cars tend to slightly waver.