Snacking behind the wheel a drag on reaction times
by Gill Montia
Motorists who are driving and eating at the same time can see their reaction times almost double, according to a University of Leeds study commissioned by esure.
Participant’s reaction times increased by 44% when snacking, meaning that a five-second gap in response time with two hands on the wheel stretches out to just over seven seconds, when one hand is grappling with food.
The report, entitled “Two Hands Better Than One”, also reveals that even sipping a drink increase reaction times by over a fifth, most likely due to additional visual demand involved in handling liquids.
Furthermore drivers with only one hand on the wheel are 18% more likely to struggle to maintain a steady central lane position, although participants made the most corrections to steering when talking on a mobile device, with adjustments rising 25% just to keep in line with the road markings ahead.
However, 17% of motorists tested think it is acceptable to drive with one hand on the wheel and a half of all participants admitted to doing so regularly.
esure car insurance head of risk and underwriting, Mike Pickard, comments: “Results from these driving simulator tests give great cause for concern and indicate how dangerous it is for motorists to engage in activities that involve driving with just one hand on the wheel.”
“We are appealing for all motorists to take the time to properly plan their car journey … eat before you step into the car and plan regular breaks at service stations to help fuel any cravings whilst behind the wheel.”