Mark Roman | August 11, 2021 | Florida Law
Florida has numerous laws designed to combat distracted driving and car accidents. You may already be familiar with some of these laws. For example, you might know that texting while driving is illegal in Tampa.
However, you may wonder what other behaviors the law restricts. Perhaps you’re wondering whether you can eat food while driving in Tampa. This overview will cover what you need to know about the topic.
Do Florida’s Distracted Driving Laws Pertain to Food?
Florida has made various improvements to its distracted driving laws in recent years. However, as of this writing, it is not illegal to eat while behind the wheel. A police officer can typically only pull you over for eating or drinking while driving if such behavior causes you to violate a traffic law.
However, the fact that you are legally permitted to eat while driving doesn’t mean that you should. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, eating while driving is one of the most common ways motorists become distracted. A high number of traffic accidents can be attributed to distractions from eating or drinking while driving.
You should not eat and drink while driving for the following reasons:
Taking Your Hand Off the Wheel
Eating or drinking while driving will require you to take at least one hand off the steering wheel. This can prevent you from controlling your vehicle or avoiding a sudden hazard.
Florida has not outlawed eating while driving, but Florida drivers are encouraged to keep two hands on the steering wheel at all times.
Taking Your Eyes off the Road
Motorists must always keep their eyes on the road. Even looking away from the road for a moment can be enough to cause an accident.
A traffic hazard might require immediate attention. Road conditions could cause a sudden traffic jam. Taking your eyes off the road to locate food or a beverage can put you at risk of a car accident.
Food Can Surprise You
Food and beverages can affect your driving in the following ways:
- You sip from a cup of coffee that’s hotter than expected
- You spill food or beverage all over yourself
- You begin choking on something you didn’t swallow properly
- You eat or drink something that causes sudden, extreme nausea
It’s always best to minimize surprises when driving. One way to do so is to avoid eating and drinking.
Other Ways to Minimize Distracted Driving in Tampa
Deciding not to eat or drink is only one of many ways Florida drivers can limit their chances of being involved in distracted driving accidents.
You should also:
- Turn your phone off
- Pull off the road and park in a safe location if you are even mildly drowsy
- Worry less about finding the best song on the radio and more about paying attention to the road
- Pull over and park if you’re in an emotional state that causes you to be distracted
It’s important to understand that behavior doesn’t need to be illegal for it to be unsafe. Yes, you can eat and drink while driving in Florida. However, you should consider eating at home or in a restaurant to avoid distracted driving.
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