Cafe on wheels not

on the menu

DO you remember the good old days of cruising down the motorway with a burger in one hand, a bottle of pop in the centre console and not a care in the world?

Sadly, such culinary delights on wheels are being destined for rubbish bin if road safety organisation GEM has anything to do with it.

GEM says that to eat or drink while driving is a distraction estimated to double a driver's risk of being involved in a crash, according to recent research. And, of course, it's an offence punishable either by fixed penalty ticket or under careless driving legislation.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: "The Highway Code tells us that we must avoid distractions such as eating and drinking when we are driving. That's because anything that takes our attention away from the driving task will increase our risk of collision. However, too many drivers don't see it as a problem to unwrap a pasty, sip a scalding hot coffee or glug from a large juice carton on a journey.

"Driving is a complex enough task already. So, trying to do anything else at the same time just makes the journey riskier because we're not fully focused on the driving task. If something then goes wrong, we're likely to react more slowly because our attention is elsewhere - and when we do react, there's the food item or beverage to deal with, too.

"Good, experienced drivers accept that eating and drinking at the wheel are dangerous, so they won't allow these distractions to compromise safety."

Being in full control of your car means both hands - and all your brain - on the driving task. Focusing on anything else is a distraction that will increase the risk of a collision.

GEM says that the best advice is to plan a journey so there's time for snack and drinks breaks built in.

Always stop somewhere safe, such as a proper parking area or motorway service station.

And most importantly, don't believe any drivers who say they can multi-task safely while driving.

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