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When they think of distractions behind the wheel, many drivers in Colorado may think of phones and navigation systems, but there is one activity that few recognize as a safety threat. That activity is eating and drinking.

A Lytx study from 2014 says that drivers are 3.6 times more likely to crash if they eat or drink while on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that a crash or near-crash becomes 39% more likely when drivers fall victim to the “secondary task distraction” of eating or drinking from an open container.

It can be obvious why this is so. First, one should consider how there are three types of distractions: manual, visual and cognitive. The first require drivers to take their hands off the wheel, and the second take their eyes off the road. The third take their mind off driving. Eating and drinking, which can involve the opening of packages, use of napkins and more, can constitute all three of these.

Drivers, even if they don’t feel compelled to eliminate all eating behind the wheel, should at least know what are the most dangerous foods and drinks. NHTSA lists 10, among them hamburgers, tacos, jelly-filled donuts, chocolate, soft drinks and coffee. If possible, drivers can pull over to the side of the road to eat.

When auto accidents are the result of a distracted driver, those who were injured at the hands of that driver may have good grounds for a claim. Of course, it can be hard to prove such distraction, especially if drivers themselves lie about their actions prior to a crash, so victims may want a lawyer to help them with the filing process. The lawyer may negotiate with the insurance companies for a reasonable settlement out of court.