Over six in ten drivers admit eating behind the wheel

The road safety charity Brake and the insurance provider Direct Line together conducted a survey of 1,000 UK drivers to understand their eating habits while driving in the past year.

62 per cent of the respondents to the survey revealed that they have eaten while driving their car. Presently there is no law which strictly prohibits drivers from eating or drinking and driving simultaneously. Doing such a thing, however, can get a driver pulled over by the police for driving without due care and attention.

Such an act can also see motorists receive on-the-spot penalties (introduced last year) for various examples of ‘careless driving’.

More worryingly, 29 per cent of respondents in the recent driver survey said they have unwrapped food themselves while driving.

A third (33 per cent) of survey respondents has eaten food that was already unwrapped or past to them by a passenger while driving.

Two per cent of drivers, or one in 50, revealed they had narrowly avoided a crash in the past year, having had to brake or swerve to avoid a hazard because they were distracted by food or drink.

In further discoveries, one in five drivers (20 per cent) admits to doing their hair, applying make-up or otherwise tidying up their appearance while at the wheel. One in 20 (5 per cent) admit doing so in free-flowing traffic.

In reaction to the survey results, both Brake and Direct Line have urged the UK’s drivers to dedicate their full attention to driving while behind the wheel.

The deputy chief executive of Brake, Julie Townsend, said: “Driving is the most complicated and risky thing most of us do on a regular basis, so it is vital we give it our full and undivided attention; we can’t afford to treat our cars as an extension of our kitchen or bathroom.

"Eating at the wheel often means taking your eyes, hands and mind off the road and dramatically increases your chances of crashing and killing or seriously injuring someone."

The director of Motor at Direct Line, Rob Miles, commented: "We advise motorists to always build in time for a break if they are going on a long journey, and use this time to refuel with food and drinks as well as with petrol."