Over 60% drivers admit to eating and driving which 'increases chances of crashing'

Two per cent of motorists admitted to barely avoiding a crash

A survey by road charity Brake and insurance company Direct line has found over three in five drivers on the road have admitted to eating while behind the wheel in the past year.

1000 drivers were asked about their food habits when in the car for the past 12 months, and 29 per cent revealed they'd opened and eaten food while on the road. A further 33 per cent of polled motorists disclosed they'd  eaten food that had been unwrapped and given to them from fellow car passengers.

Two per cent acknowledged they'd had been distracted by food or drink, and had had to break or swerve in order to avoid a hazard on the road ahead, barely avoiding a crash.

According to a Brunel University study published in 2008, "eating a meal at the wheel increases your risk of a devastating crash as much as talking on a phone."

Eating while driving is not the only distracting activity drivers have admitted to part-taking behind the wheel. The survey also revealed five per cent of drivers have shaved, combed their hair or applied make-up while on the road. 15 per cent admitted to having carried out personal grooming when their vehicle was stationary.

The Press Association reported that the trend of eating behind the wheel was on the increase, but Ed Morrow, campaigns officer at Brake told The Independent: “We don’t know how prevalent eating at the wheel used to be, so we don’t know for sure that more drivers are doing it, or doing it more often.

What we do know is that people are living increasingly fast-paced lifestyles, which are likely to contribute to the alarmingly high proportion of drivers now admitting to eating at the wheel.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake 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."

She added "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 charity is appealing to the Government to increase current fines for distraction and careless driving offences, in the hope it would dissuade dangerous multi-tasking to take place behind the wheel.

Direct Line's motor director Rob Miles told PA "There has been significant research into the increase in drivers' reaction times while talking on a mobile phone, but other in-car distractions that take the driver's attention away from the road can be equally harmful."

AA president Edmund King also commented on the results of the survey. "We need to take these findings with a pinch of salt. Many drivers safely pop a 'car sweet' into their mouths while driving which causes no more distraction than changing gear or putting on the indicator.

"In-car driver distractions were a contributory factor in 3% of all accidents on UK roads in 2012. Drivers need common sense to prevail and avoid activities that have a detrimental effect on their ability to drive safely but I don't think we need a law that prescribes everything that a driver can or can't do."

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Project Manager - Vehicle Design and Build

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Engineering Project Manager ...

Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer and i...

Recruitment Genius: Document Controller

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Document Controller is required to join a le...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action