We know how it is – you’re on a long road trip, stuck in traffic at a standstill. You’re not allowed to use your phone and the radio is filling your ears with depressing news stories instead of blissful tunes. Suddenly, you remember the bag of crisps that you threw into the glove box last week and decide stale, warm cheese & onion potato shavings can only improve this situation. But wait; should you eat while in control of a car? What are the rules around eating behind the wheel? Allow Scrap Car Comparison to explain…
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Is It Illegal To Eat While Driving?
Ultimately, the answer to this question is not quite black and white. The actual act of eating whilst in control of your car is, perhaps surprisingly, not illegal. However, if you are determined by police to be distracted by your delicious snack and not properly controlling the vehicle, you could indeed be charged with careless driving and face an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points added to your driving licence.
Worse still, if your bout of the munchies is the cause of an accident, you might even end up with an inflated fine of up to £5,000 along with a maximum of nine penalty points. Some drivers might even find themselves banned from driving by a court order!
Is It Illegal To Drink While Driving?
The same rules apply to drinking behind the wheel, too, so think twice before you start chugging your extra large fizzy drink at 70 miles per hour on the motorway. If you’re not properly controlling your car and able to react in an emergency, you could face the same penalties as you would if you were chomping on a cheeseburger.
That being said, it is a good idea to keep a supply of water in your car so that you don’t get dehydrated. This is especially important in the summer, when the internal temperature of a car can become sweltering in moments, particularly if you don’t have air conditioning.
What Happens If You Are Involved In A Collision While Eating Behind The Wheel?
As we mentioned above, if you’re involved in a road collision and your eating habits are determined to be to blame, you could end up receiving the maximum punishment in the form of nine penalty points, a £5,000 fine and a driving ban, but remember, this only applies if you’re charged with careless driving. If your mid-commute meal causes a much more serious incident like, for example, where another person is severely injured, you could be charged with even more serious offences.
Tips For Eating And Drinking While Driving
Even after going through this post, we still understand the perceived need to eat while driving. Sometimes, you can get hungry when you’re on the road, especially if you’re in between service stations or simply don’t want to eat at the ones you do pass. If you really want to take some snacks with you in the car, here’s some advice on how to eat and drink without falling foul of the law.
- Keep it bitesize: Don’t try to eat an entire meal at the wheel. Get something that can be eaten in small bites. Sweets or perhaps a box of chicken nuggets that can be left in or near your cup holder and quickly grabbed, without taking your eyes off the road, before putting your hand back on the wheel.
- Keep it clean: Messy, greasy foods are a surefire distraction. Not only will it require your attention to wipe any stray condiments off your shirt, it’s likely to also need the use of both hands. Plus, if your hands do get greasy, you could end up losing your grip on the steering wheel or gear stick.
- Don’t rest things on your lap: Your lap might seem like an ideal place to rest your chicken nuggets, but it might actually hinder your driving ability. While you’re trying to balance your food, your normal driving position and range of motion is hindered, meaning any instinctive reaction, like an emergency stop, might not go how you expect it to – muscle memory is very real when it comes to driving a car. You might also find that you drive less safely to avoid having to move your legs as much.
- Bring a friend: We admit, this might be a bit odd unless you know them very well, but the safest way to eat while driving is to have somebody feed you while you keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road ahead!
If your car is toast, sell it with Scrap Car Comparison and, regardless of its condition, we’ll find you the best price for it offered by scrap specialists in your local area. Our network of scrap and salvage experts covers 99% of the UK, so wherever you are, we can find you a buyer for your vehicle with free collection included as standard. Get a price today by calling 03333 44 99 50 or by using our scrap car price calculator, and we can help you sell your car in no time, even if it’s brown bread.