Spilled food, drink = recipe for crashes

A Colorado news story reminds us that cell phones aren’t the only distraction for teen drivers.
   PEMCO knows from its own claims experience that spilled food and drinks cause many crashes. That’s what happened recently in Fort Collins, Colo., where a 16-year-old girl was turning a corner when her hot tea spilled, distracting her. She hit the gas instead of the brake and rammed a bus bench, knocking two people to the ground. Luckily they weren’t injured seriously.
   While surveying Washington drivers for a PEMCO Poll, we learned that 65% admitted to eating to driving, a practice they rated less dangerous than talking or texting while driving.
   Yet PEMCO believes that eating while driving is dangerous because 1) it's so prevalent, 2) it removes one hand from the steering wheel, and 3) it takes your eyes off road.
   Eating with one hand while steering with the other hinders you when the unexpected happens – another car brakes or changes lanes suddenly, a sharp curve appears, or splashing water drenches your windshield. It keeps you from quickly turning on your wipers or shifting a manual transmission, for example.
   Worse, if your eyes are searching for that glob of mustard you dropped, or you’re reaching for a spilled drink, you're not prepared to deal with changes on the roadway.
   Distractions lead to crashes. PEMCO claims adjusters say the most-dangerous distractions involve reaching and taking your eyes off the road. Spilled food and drink, groping for a dropped CD, or reaching for a purse can make you tug on the wheel, veering you off course and into another car or over a curb.
   Read about the Colorado crash, and check out the 10 worst foods to eat while driving.

by  Jon Osterberg

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