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Driving reaction time doubles while eating

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Apr 16 2012

A new academic report that was released last week states that motorists who eat while driving have their reaction times doubled. The new study, which was commissioned by esure car insurance and was carried out by scientists from the University of Leeds with the use of a driving simulator, found that the reaction times of participants increased by as much as 44 per cent when they were eating while in charge of the vehicle.

The report, which goes by the name "Two Hands Better than One", shows that the reaction time of a motorist who sipped a drink while driving increased by more than a fifth, as much as 22 per cent, in comparison to when he was driving with both of his hands firmly on the steering wheel.

The increased reaction rates are likely the result of the extra visual demand that is associated with eating and drinking such as the likes of tipping up the bottle in order to drink from it or from unwrapping the food. Motorists were as much as 18 per cent more likely to be unable to keep up a steady central lane position while drinking behind the wheel.

Other research from esure reveals that a disturbing 79 per cent of motorists, possibly including company car drivers who may be behind the wheel of vehicles which have been rented out on a contract hire agreement, do not even understand the legislation surrounding driving while only having one hand on the steering wheel.

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