Just when you thought it was safe to eat a jelly-filled donut while driving the Food Police say no. Yep, there's actually a list of the "Ten Most Dangerous Foods To Eat While Driving." How do I know? Well, my experience in eating, driving, and the combination thereof, makes me an expert. Couple this with my investigative reporting skills and viola. For starters, Hagerty Classic Insurance reviewed data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on accidents caused by driver distraction.
According to an analysis of 32,303 drivers nationwide, the NHTSA found that eating was a bigger distraction than using a handheld cell phone. Again, according to the NHTSA there are 185,500,000 licensed drivers in the USA and 26 percent of all traffic fatalities among these drivers are caused by driver distractions. Additionally, according to The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, "distracted drivers cause at least 4,000 to 8,000 accidents per day."
I have firsthand knowledge that this is the absolute truth. Twenty years ago a woman consuming a four-decker hamburger made an ill-advised left-hand turn and plowed directly into the driver side of my roadster, with me in it! (Ironically, it occurred in front of Angelo's Drive-In, a place made famous for both its hamburgers and cruise nights.) Yep, the old roadster took a beating but Magoo was able to put the pieces together. However, I never drove the car again. Something just wasn't right. Some say what was wrong wasn't with the car but with my head. Probably true. Fortunately for me the female driver had insurance and the company covered the tab. However, it never did undo the mental anguish of seeing my pride and joy violated by the bumper of a 4,500-pound piece of Detroit Iron.
Oh well, life goes on. I have always considered driving to be the ideal time to munch down a 2-pound bag of M&M's, or a small bag (36 individually wrapped units) of Peppermint Patties, all while downing a 44-ounce diet drink. (Ever wonder why it's important to drink diet beverages when eating humungous quantities of fattening foods?)
While it appears that I may just be experiencing the joy of driving, I might be doing so in an unsafe and not so smart manner. For the record, I will show you the Top 10 foods you shouldn't eat while driving. After reading the research material, I have decided that it would be a good idea to keep my hands at 10 and 2, and to wait until the next rest stop before loading up for my next sugar high.
Following the David Letterman method of presenting the Top 10, let's begin with 10 and work our way to number 1.
Chocolate--you might as well take me from this earth if I can't eat chocolate and drive. For the record, here's why you shouldn't eat chocolate and drive. Apparently, chocolate eating drivers transfer the chocolate from their hands to the steering wheel and then attempt to wipe off the wheel while driving. Hence, the distraction from the road ahead.
Soft Drinks--spilling a drink while driving is never a good idea. I am the king of 44-ounce drink manipulation while driving but I can see how a spilled hot or cold drink in the lap could cause a distraction. That's a good one, but I'm not sure I can give up my .99-cent super monster refillable drink cup?
Jelly and Cream-Filled Donuts--okay, this one I have experienced. Yep, it's distracting to have a jelly donut burp onto your clothing while driving. Except I really, really like my Krispy Kreme donuts.
Fried Chicken--Greasy hands are apparently a great deal like chocolate hands, fingerprints and messy steering wheels are the end results. Then, the steering wheel must be cleaned, causing one to be distracted from the road ahead. Okay, but there's nothing quite like an extra crispy chicken leg, wind in the hair, and the open road to truly make an enjoyable roadster experience.
Any Barbecued Food--this boils down to laws of physics. If it drips, don't eat it and drive. Even I avoid this one.
Juicy Hamburgers--all those slippery goodies that make the hamburger taste so good are just the items that fall into your lap and start the distraction cycle. Do you remember earlier when I recounted the experience that I had with the woman driver who was eating a hamburger? I have to agree with this one.
Chili--even I would have thought this one was obvious. Steering a car and steering a chili dog to ones mouth requires more dexterity than the average rodder possesses.
Tacos--again, this one should be obvious. Any food that can disassemble itself faster than you can take apart a carburetor should be saved for outdoor picnic tables or at least above a splat-mat.
Hot Soups--really, this one should be obvious. Actually, the NSRA should have a driving contest where the driver must maneuver thorough an obstacle course while holding onto a hot cup of soup. Now, that would be fun to watch.
And that brings us to the number one food that you shouldn't have in your hands while driving:
Coffee--it's somewhat ironic given that I don't drink coffee. This is the one food that is the primary cause, or part of the cause, for accidents where food is involved. The downside to driving and drinking coffee should be readily obvious to one and all rodders.
If you really want to be an unsafe driver try drinking a hot cup of coffee while driving a stick, and for good measure call me on your cell phone at the same time. I have got to hear what the end result will be! Or, on the other hand, let's be careful out there.