Grabbing a bite to eat behind the wheel is more dangerous than being over the safe alcohol limit
Eating or smoking while driving put you more at risk than if you had drunk too much alcohol according to new research from the University of Leeds.
Reaction times of motorists stealing a snack behind the wheel were up to 44 per cent slower than usual, while sipping a drink decreased responses by up to 22 per cent.
Research by the Transport Research Laboratory found that motorists using their phones to text were also putting themselves at risk decreasing their reaction time by 37.4 per cent while alcohol at the legal limit is only 12.5 per cent.
Even a hands free phone conversation slowed reactions by 26.5 per cent while smoking also affects your ability to respond at speed.
‘It is accepted that the distraction of talking on a hand-held mobile phone may increase accident risk,’ says Professor Samantha Jamson from the University of Leeds.
‘However other activities that involve taking one hand off the wheel, such as eating and drinking, may also cause distraction.’
The research, commissioned by car insurer esure, found that two million drivers have had an accident or a near miss after taking one hand off the wheel.