In case you don’t realize it, eating while driving is another form of distracted driving.
In order to put the food in your mouth, you have to have at least one hand off the wheel. (You really need to have both hands on the wheel as much as possible.)
On this page, we’re going to detail reasons why eating behind the wheel of your truck — while driving — can be costly.
Why Address This Subject?
The impetus behind this page was yet another article about a trucker who choked on food which he was eating while driving.
This trucker passed out (lost consciousness), veered across Interstate 80, crashed head-on into a car and killed both the car’s driver and passenger.
Consequently, the freeway was shut down for hours.
Obviously, an accident won’t happen every time a trucker chokes; furthermore, choking can happen for reasons other than eating.
Still, the event listed above is not the only article we have read about a choking trucker winding up in an accident.
Here are some more examples:
- Trucker Chokes on Pork Rind, Crashes(1)
- Trucker Chokes on Chili, Gives House a New Back Door(2)
- Utah trucker chokes on a mint, crashes in Missouri(3)
- Trucker chokes on chicken, passes out, crashes(4)
Who is in Control?
We previously wrote about truckers saying it was the fault of the food or some other distraction for causing an accident.
In cases where truckers are eating while driving, they have made the choice not to park to do so.
They created their own distraction and are not in total control of their rigs.
This ought not to be!
What’s even worse than using one hand for eating is using both hands, as one would need to do for eating wet foods (like cereal in milk or chili) or big foods (like a sub sandwich).
Reasons Why This Activity Can Be Costly
- Any time you divide your attention away from driving (engage in distracted driving), your mind is not totally focused on driving. This in and of itself can lead to incidents and accidents.
- Allowing your truck to “wander” from your lane of travel can result in side-swipes or worse accidents.
- Not paying attention to what’s in front of you can lead to a rear-end collision, especially if you’re using a truck Cruise control.
- If one of your hands is off the wheel when a tire blows (especially if it is a steer tire), you may not be able to control your rig and thus end up in an accident.
- Eating while driving in urban or congested areas could lead to running red lights, jumping curbs or causing accidents from not being able to control the wheel and your truck.
- Any accident that you’re involved in as a professional truck driver will show up on your Motor Vehicle Record — at least for a while. It might never be expunged from other records.
- Any accident you are involved in as a trucker will need to be documented to your company. Also, depending on its severity and how long ago it happened, you may need to declare an accident on any truck driving application you fill out.
- If the accident you cause is severe enough, you could lose your job and even your trucking career.
- If you cause a life-altering or fatal accident as a result of eating while driving, you may never be able to erase it from your conscience.
- At least two states (as of this writing in March 2013) list imprisonment as a penalty for vehicular homicide.
- From the opposite perspective, “mindless eating” can lead the eater to consume far more calories than he or she should, which can lead to obesity.
- If a person is so concerned about saving time that he or she feels that eating while driving is a good idea, then he or she is also likely to cut corners on healthy eating.
There are other types of distracted driving besides eating while driving, like drinking any kind of beverage while driving (even if it’s just water).
We urge you to do all that is within your power not to be distracted by anything while driving a truck.
Money saving tip: We’re not going to argue the point that “some foods are better than others” to eat while driving.
One hand off the wheel can still lead to problems.
Professional truck drivers ought at all times to be professional.
If your delivery schedule is too tight, work with your driver manager to re-schedule your appointment.
We recommend that you pull over and park periodically for stretch breaks anyway.
Why can’t you use part of that time to eat a healthy snack?
Begin with the end in mind. If the goal is for you and the rest of the motoring public around you to be safe, then model best practices regarding the operation of your truck.
1. www.thecollaredsheep.com/trucker-chokes-on-pork-rind-crashes/ (no longer online)
2. www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-6162909-504083/ (no longer online)
3. www.truckdriversnews.com/utah-trucker-chokes-on-a-mint-crashes-in-missouri/ (no longer online)
4. www.old.kval.com/news/local/81380797/ (no longer online)