Food and drink are a major distraction for drivers

When drivers in Connecticut think of distractions, they probably think of their phone or the radio first. They may not realize that food and drinks can make them just as inattentive behind the wheel.

A study from 2014 says that drivers are 3.6 times more likely to crash if they eat or drink. Eating or drinking out of an open container, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, makes a crash or near-crash nearly 39% more possible.

It’s important to know that there are three types of distractions: visual, which take a driver’s eyes off the road; manual, which take driver’s hand(s) from the steering wheel; and cognitive, which cause the driver not to pay attention to the road. Any of these by itself can raise crash risk. Eating and drinking can encompass two or even all three of these distractions.

Some foods and drinks pose a greater risk than others. The NHTSA has a list of the 10 most dangerous foods and drinks that drivers can have. Among the foods were fried chicken, tacos, hamburgers and jelly- or cream-filled donuts. Among the beverages were coffee and soft drinks. Drivers should avoid these in particular. If a long road trip requires that they eat before reaching their destination, drivers can pull over.

Victims of car accidents that were caused by another motorist can seek compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Connecticut holds to a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that plaintiffs can recover damages in a third-party insurance claim if they are 50% or less at fault. Of course, negotiating for a fair settlement with the insurance companies is another matter and may require some legal assistance.