After having been involved in a car accident in which someone inexplicably lost control of their vehicle or failed to detect approaching traffic, one might immediately assume that the driver was distracted. Most of the focus directed at distracted driving in recent years has centered on people using their cell phones while driving. Yet cell phone use is not the only activity that can distract one while behind the wheel. Indeed, there may be more activities that can be just as distracting while being even more prevalent (one of which information shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates could be responsible for as many as 80% of all car accidents).
This particular distraction is eating while behind the wheel. Many might view eating and drinking as being such natural actions that they would not normally be considered distracting. An argument might also be made that drivers are encouraged to do it (as drive-thru dining options and cupholders in cars seemingly imply that motorists should eat and drink while on the road). Yet as study information compiled through a joint research effort between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance points out, eating requires that one take at least one hand of the steering wheel, and to divert their gaze and their attention (if even for a brief moment) away from the road ahead.
Following a collision, one might be able to pick up on subtle cues that the driver that hit them was eating while driving. These may include food wrappers or open containers strewn about a vehicle, or fresh food stains on the hands or clothing of the driver that caused the accident.