Researchers from the University of Leeds have conducted a study of driver distractions and found some surprising results. Though many may believe drunk driving to be more dangerous than eating while driving, their research showed just the opposite is true.
In simulated driving experiences, increased reaction times were observed for eating, texting, drinking a non-alcoholic beverage and driving drunk. Eating increased reaction times by 44 percent, texting by 37 percent and drinking by 22 percent. It was driving while intoxicated that had the lowest increase in reaction time, at 12.5 percent.
One would have to be careful when interpreting the last result, because driving while drunk causes many accidents, including fatal ones. The point of the comparison was to emphasize the relative risk of the other distractions, not to diminish concerns about drunk driving.
There are many efforts made to inform the public about the dangers of drunk driving, but comparatively little education on the hazards of eating while driving. There might also be more awareness of the danger of driving while using a cell phone, due to various bans prohibiting such activity.
“It is accepted that the distraction of talking on a hand-held mobile phone may increase accident risk. However, other activities that involve taking one hand off the wheel, such as eating or drinking, may also cause distraction,” said University of Leeds spokeswoman Professor Samantha Jamson. (Source: News.drive.com)
Driving distracted causes thousands of deaths every year, yet it is a behavior anyone can easily learn to stop. Becoming aware of the dangers involved is the first step in learning safer driving habits.
Image Credit: Tdmalone, Wiki Commons