Distracted driving takes many forms besides the common image of a person with one eye on the road and the other on his or her phone. Just about any secondary activity that a driver engages in affects the amount of attention you are paying to driving.

Many chronic distracted drivers claim they are not putting themselves and innocent victims in danger. But distracted driving has been shown to significantly raise the chances of a grave car accident. Far too many people have suffered permanent injury because of a distracted driver.

One common form of distracted driving is eating and driving. This can range from stealing a French fry from your fast food bag to chowing down on a full meal while going down the highway. Experts say that eating and driving increases the chance of an auto accident by as much as 80 percent. In other words, people have suffered serious injuries because some drivers don’t wait until they get home to eat their meal.

Not only is eating and driving dangerous, it is also illegal in California. It is included in the state’s distracted driving law. A California Highway Patrol officer pointed out that, besides the distraction of using your hands to eat, when you spill something your first instinct is to bend over to clean it up.

In a car, this means that the driver has completely taken his or her eyes off the road, turning the vehicle into an out-of-control missile. Even a few seconds is long enough to cause a deadly crash.

That is why the only speed that is safe to drive while eating is zero mph, the officer said.

Source: KCBS-TV, “Eating While Driving Significantly Increases Chances Of A Car Accident, Experts Say,” Nov. 11, 2013