Skip to comments.Eating While Driving Significantly Increases Chances Of A Car Accident, Experts Say
Posted on 11/12/2013 7:48:38 AM PST by BenLurkin
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) Experts say eating while driving can increase a motorists chances of a car accident by 80 percent.
Ryan Harrison, an editor in Burbank, said long hours at work means more time in his car.
Id rather just eat on the way home, so Im killing two birds with one stone, he said. I would make scrambled eggs before I go to work and then Id eat them on the way to work, and Id also eat yogurt. Its definitely convenience.
With so little time and so much traffic, Los Angeles freeways have turned Harrisons car into a personal dining room.
There is so much traffic here that you have to drive so slowly and there are so many stop lights, he said. I need to eat while Im driving just to save time.
Officer Juan Galvan of the California Highway Patrol office in Glendale said that while Harrisons behavior isnt illegal, it is unsafe.
Usually when people take a bite and if they spill, whats your first reaction? Your first reaction is to let go of the steering wheel or drop whatever it is youre doing because you want to clean up the mess you possibly caused, Galvan said.
Law enforcement officials say much like texting and driving, eating also falls under the category of distracted driving.
Asked if the CHP has seen an increase in drivers who eat, Galvan said, We did have a [Distracted Driving Awareness Month] in April. Over 10,000 enforcement contacts were made and over 240 citations were issued for an unsafe speed related to distracted driving. So, quite possibly, there could have been a good majority that were eating.
The officer added, We dont have a specific section, but for somebody that is eating while driving, now we can go with the unsafe speed section. What is the safe speed for you to eat and drive? The safe speed is zero.
Harrison said theres more to the distracted driving debate than just taking a bite behind the wheel.
If they make it so you cant eat and drive, they should take away being able to put on make-up. Im not going to be eating my hamburger if Im trying to get across six lanes of traffic and avoid pedestrians and stuff, he said.
Distracted drivers can be cited anywhere from $100 to $500, or even more.
LOL, I can even do that now, but...if it gets on me, it is immediate death with prejudice.
That said, I prefer to let them escape OUTSIDE my house. They can live in the house for all I care, but if the damn thing walks on me, I have to hunt it down and kill it.
But if she had done that, surely we wouldn't have had the pleasure...:)
It’s a great way to warm up for that tennis game! LOL!
This article, that was written in the late 1980s, helps to illustrate the problem.
High-Speed Performance Characteristics of Pickup Trucks
by P. J. O’Rourke
I’m an experienced pickup truck driver. I was driving my pickup the other Saturday night after having -as I made very clear to the police- hardly anything to drink and while going -honest, officer- about thirty miles an hour when, I swear, a deer ran into the road, and I was forced to pull off the highway with such abruptness that it took the wrecker crew six hours to get my truck out of the woods.
An experienced pickup truck driver is a person who’s wrecked one. An inexperienced pickup truck driver is a person who’s about to wreck one. A very inexperienced pickup truck driver doesn’t even own a pickup but will probably be mistaken for a wild antelope by people jack-lighting pronghorns in somebody else’s pickup truck. The foremost high-speed-handling characteristic of pickup trucks is the remarkably high speed with which they head from wherever you are directly into trouble. This has to do with beer. The minute you get in a pickup you want a beer. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but personally I blame it on Jimmy Carter having been President.
You see, everyone in America has always wanted to be a redneck. That’s why all those wig-and-knicker colonial guys moved to Kentucky with Davy Crockett even before he got his TV show. And witness aristocratic young Theodore Roosevelt’s attempt to be a “rough rider.” Even Henry James used the same last name as his peckerwood cousin Jesse. And as Henry James would tell you, if anyone read him anymore and also if he were still alive, the single most prominent distinguishing feature of the redneck is that he drives a pickup truck. This explains why all of us are muscling these things around downtown Minneapolis and Cincinnati.
You may be wondering where Jimmy Carter comes in. Well, Jimmy Carter was a redneck just like we’re all trying to be, but he was a sober redneck. Most of us had never seen a sober redneck, and we have the Reagan landslide to testify that none of us ever want to see one again. It was a horrifying apparition. And ever since Jimmy Carter all of us rednecks have had to be very careful to be drunk rednecks lest we turn into some kind of awful creature with big buck teeth and a State Department full of human-rights yahoos.
Thus the pickup truck has become the world’s only beer guided motor vehicle. Let’s examine one unit of this guidance system. Let’s examine another. Let’s examine the whole six-pack. Now let’s drive over and see if any ducks have come in on Hodge Pond. Whoops! Crash! Forgot the camper back wasn’t bolted down.
THE PICKUP: DESIGN AND ENGINEERING
A pickup truck is basically a back porch with an engine attached. Both a pickup and a back porch are good places to drink beer because you can take a leak standing up from either. Pickup trucks are generally a little faster downhill than back porches, with the exception of certain California back porches during mudslide season. But back porches get better gas mileage.
Another important difference between back porches and pickup trucks is the suspension systems. Back porches are most often seated firmly on the ground by means of cement-block foundations. Nothing nearly that sophisticated is used in pickup trucks. The front suspension of a modern pickup truck is fully independent. Each wheel is independently bolted right to the frame. The rear suspension is a live axle usually attached by a rope to someone else’s bumper while he tries to pull you out of the woods.
This suspension design is ideal for use in conjunction with the pickup’s 100 percent front/0 percent rear weight distribution. This weight distribution is achieved through engine placement. The engine is placed just where you’d place it on a back porch: hanging off one end so you can get under it and take a look at the giant dent in the oil pan you got when you ran over the patio furniture last night.
Theoretically such forward-weight bias should cause gross understeer. But everyone involved with pickup trucks is whooping it up too much to have any grasp of theory, so the forward-weight bias causes oversteer instead. What happens to an unloaded pickup truck in a curve is that the rear end has nothing to do-is unemployed, metaphorically speaking-so it comes around to ask you for work, up there in the front of the truck where all the weight is. And the result is exactly like one of those revolving restaurants that they have on hotels except it’s on four bald snow tires instead of a hotel, and it’s in the middle of the highway, and it tips over.
In order to correct this handling problem, the pickup’s load bed is filled with leaf mulch, garden loam, hundred-pound bags of dog food, two snowmobiles, half a cord of birch logs, your son’s Cub Scout pack, and a used refrigerator to put beer in out on the back porch. The result is an adjusted weight bias of 0 percent front/100 percent rear that causes a handling problem different from either understeer or oversteer, which is no steering at all because the front wheels aren’t touching the ground.
The same kind of thinking that went into pickup truck suspension design has also been applied to the pickup engine, which is basically the same device Jim Watt was using to pump water out of coal mines in 1810 except that, in accordance with recent EPA rulings, a hanky soaked in Pinsol has been stuffed into each cylinder to cut down on exhaust emissions. There are three types of pickup truck engines: the six-cylinder engine, which does not have enough cylinders; the eight-cylinder engine, which has too many; and the four-cylinder engine, which is found in “mini pickups” driven by people who think John Denver is the right kind of redneck to be and believe they can talk to whales. The less said about four-cylinder engines the better. But all these engines have a common fault in that they continue to run after the ignition has been switched off, a phenomenon known as “dieseling.” Engines that actually are diesels have been introduced for pickup trucks and they rectify this problem by not starting in the first place.
It doesn’t matter. The real power for pickup trucks is generated inside the gearbox, or at least it seems to be because it’s so noisy in there. And if it isn’t, it soon will be after you get blotto and start shifting without the clutch.
There are usually five gears in a pickup. One is a mystery gear which is illustrated on the shift knob but cannot be found. Then there is first gear, which is good for getting stuck in the woods.
When you aren’t stuck in the woods it’s good for yanking your bumper off while trying to help a friend who owns a pickup when he’s stuck in the woods. First gear has a top speed of three. Third gear has a slightly higher top speed but you can’t climb a speed bump without downshifting and the truck still only gets eight mpg. It is not known exactly what third gear is for. All normal pickup truck driving is done in second. Pickups also have a reverse gear, which is good for getting more completely stuck in the woods than first gear can do alone.
Because pickup trucks get stuck in the woods so often, four wheel drive has become a popular option. The four-wheel-drive feature is either operated by a lever which fails to put the truck in 4WD or by a lever which fails to take it out. Four-wheel drive allows you to mire four wheels axle-deep in the woods instead of just two.
Perhaps the most novel aspect to pickup truck engineering is that pickups have no brakes. True, there is a parking brake which, if you set it, allows you to let your driverless pickup roll downhill into a busy intersection with a clear conscience. And there is a brake pedal, but stepping on it only produces a poignant desire for one more beer before you crash into the woods. There are, however, a number of methods of bringing a pickup truck to a stop, most of them involving trees in those woods, but sometimes the spare tire, which hangs down behind the bumper in the back, will fall partly out of its mounting and produce drag force. And very often a pickup will run out of gas and coast to a stop. And right in front of a bar too-according to what you told your wife.
That just goes to show how thoroughgoing the relationship is between pickups and drinking. I mean it sure looks like these things were designed by people who’d been drinking. And the level of finish indicates they were built by people who’d been drinking. It only stands to reason they should be driven by people like us who are half in the bag. As a result, the most popular pickup truck performance modification is-you guessed it-having a drink. For instance, at sixty miles an hour take a tight turn and notice that if you hadn’t been tight you never would have taken that turn in the first place. Now you call a wrecker and I’ll go get some tall ones.
Driving a pickup at high speed is a difficult skill to master. The first step is to assume the proper driving position: Use one hand to firmly grasp the drip rail on the roof. This takes the place of shoulder harness, lap belt, and air bag and lets you give the finger to people with anti-handgun bumper stickers on their cars. Then place your other hand on the gearshift knob so you’ll always know what gear you’re in (which is second, as I pointed out before). Now take your third hand ... Perhaps some picture of the difficulty is beginning to emerge. Anyway, be sure to balance your beer can carefully in your lap.
The second step is to drive over to the 7-Eleven and get more beer. Use your down vest to mop up the one you spilled all over your crotch as you backed out the driveway. The third step is cornering technique. There are three ways to take a high-speed curve in a pickup. The first way is to use the traditional racecar driver’s “late apex”: Go deep into the curve at full speed doing all your downshifting and useless brake-pedal pumping in a straight line. Then, in one smooth motion, turn the wheel to the full extent necessary for the curve. Aim for an apex slightly past the geometrical apex of the inside edge of the curve and slowly bring the steering wheel back to straight-ahead as you reapply the throttle. This will put your truck into the woods. The second way to take a fast curve is to come into the curve slightly slower, dial in a greater amount of steering, and stay on the throttle so as to propel the truck into a “power slide.” This will put your truck in the woods too. The third method is to come to a full stop before entering the curve and have a beer. While you’re doing that someone else will come along in another pickup truck and knock you into the woods anyway.
Now that you’ve wrecked a pickup and are an experienced pickup truck driver, it’s important to know what to tell the police. Tell them a deer ran into the road. This happens very frequently in the places where we rednecks live, especially when we’ve been drinking. For example, below are the five most common explanations made to the North Carolina Highway Patrol by drivers who have put their pickup trucks into the woods:
1. A deer ran into the road.
2. A deer ran into the road.
3. A deer ran into the road.
4. A deer ran into the road.
5. I was stopped at a stop sign but I had to start up again real fast and run my pickup into the woods because otherwise it would have been smashed by this deer that ran into the road.
PURCHASE, REPAIR, AND MAINTENANCE OF
THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE PICKUP TRUCK
If, however, you still haven’t wrecked a pickup truck and are weighing the obvious delights of having an opportunity to do so against such considerations as wanting to be a redneck but only having enough money to be middle-class or having a wife who thought she was marrying a college-educated account executive, here are some points for you to consider. First, how much will a pickup truck cost?
Another pickup to replace first one that you wreck
VW Rabbit for wife, who won’t drive truck
That’s a fair piece of change. But on the other hand, pickup trucks are virtually maintenance-free. In fact, all pickup repairs can be done with a long chain. Attach one end of the chain to the pickup truck, drop the other end of the chain on the ground, and go buy a real car.
You may also want to know if a pickup truck is truly useful. I’m afraid the answer is yes -all too much so.
UTILITY COMPARISON: Pickup vs. Real Car
- Brush hauling
Yes, I’ll do it tomorrow.
Good excuse not to haul brush
- Taking trash to dump
Really, I’ll do it tomorrow. The Falcons are playing Dallas.
- Furniture loads
Room for five-piece bedroom set and expensive oriental rug.
Have plenty of furniture already, don’t need any more.
But, when all is said and done, it really would have looked silly at the end of Easy Rider if Peter Fonda and Dennis Hooper had been shot by a couple of guys in a Fiat Brava. And what’s life for if you never get a chance to shoot the likes of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper? Besides, you’ll never really appreciate the profound and astonishing beauties of nature if you don’t get stuck in the woods now and then. And you won’t appreciate them half as much if you don’t have a lot of beer along.
Once, my husband called me at work to meet him at for a party at HIS work-he’d forgotten about it, and although I had a dress and heels in the truck in case of picky customers, I had no hose, so I stopped at a dollar store in my mad rush to the gathering-I put on a pair of pantyhose in stages at stoplights, and the dress in the parking lot, but I got there safely, and on time...
Having other folks in the car can be distracting too, so we should ban carpools and get rid of those HOV lanes.
Let it be known that if you breath and live for a certain number of years, there is a good chance that you will die.
I am sure there is an expert that will study this and will publish a confirmation paper detailing this.
Deserves it’s own thread.
Back in the day, I had a 1978 Chevy Custom Deluxe 4X4 with a small camper.
I decided to clean it one day, not sure why, and from under my seat I pulled 36 empty cans of Bud and one full one.
Hahahaha...PJ ORourke is brilliant!
Hahahah...those Texas girls!
Grandma Johnson used to feed Grandpa Johnson while he drove with both his hands on the wheel. This was in the 40s and earlier. I was told this by my Mother who was always at odds with her MIL.
Two things about this article:
First, you need to distinguish between types of eating. Finger-food can be eaten safely in the car. Food you need utensils for, or which fall apart without attention. Someone mentioned tacos — I wouldn’t do a taco in a car.
My choice of foods are burgers, chicken nuggets (no dipping), french fries (I pretty much stoppped eating fries though for dietary reasons). Milkshakes rather than blizzards or ice cream cones (finger food, but the ice cream melts and drips and distracts you). Cookies are always good. Not crumbly food. Pizza is iffy, because if it is a really good pizza, it is going to tend to be melty and runny a bit.
Second, more serious thing, was this quote: “The officer added, We dont have a specific section, but for somebody that is eating while driving, now we can go with the unsafe speed section. What is the safe speed for you to eat and drive? The safe speed is zero. “
So, in California, they made the law so that a police officer can give you a traffic ticket based on his personal opinion. Doesn’t matter if you are driving the speed limit, staying in your lane, obeying all the traffic rules. They see you eating (legal), driving the speed limit (legal), stopping at signs like you should (legal), and they still give you a ticket for “exceeding a safe speed”, because they think you should not be allowed to eat and drive despite the law.
That is tyranny. I wonder if they are winning these cases in court.
I almost had a wreck!
Had a female employee arrive late for work one day. Her excuse?
“I had a cop following me, so I had to pull into a parking lot to put on my makeup.”
I kid you not.
LOL...was she blonde?
Cars, men and women are often a bad mix...
I worked at a place that had a beautiful gal who came back from lunch one day and said “I saw two rear end collisions on Main Street!”
Heh, we all rolled our eyes. She was good to look at, and I am certain those two cars had male drivers who should have been looking at the road!
No, distracted is changing into a baseball uniform, including a cup while driving on the freeway. Not that I’d know anything about that.
I’ve eaten and spilled plenty of times and never let go of the wheel.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.