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15% of drivers admit to crashes or near-misses due to in-car eating

The survey of 2,000 motorists also shows that for one in 12 motorists, eating behind the wheel is commonplace, with drivers doing so between five and ten times a week.

And although most people (27%) who dine in the car said they park up to eat, large numbers of drivers are also eating on the move, whether that's on the motorway (22%), on residential streets (17%) or on country roads (9%).

Yet Admiral's study also revealed three quarters (77%) of British motorists believe eating when driving is dangerous and more than half (55%) think it should be against the law to eat behind the wheel of a car.

Admiral managing director, Sue Longthorn, said: ‘Eating while driving is not specifically illegal in the UK but motorists can find themselves charged with careless driving if police don’t think they are in control of their vehicle as a result.’

Although most motorists (26%) snack between meals in the car, for many eating in the car is about proper meals too. 12% said they eat breakfast, 9% eat lunch and 4% even eat their evening meal in the car. When asked why, two-fifths (41%) said they eat in the car just because they're hungry, a quarter (26%) to save time in the morning and 15% say as it’s the only chance they get.

Longhorn continued: ‘Things like pot noodles and pavlovas are extreme examples of what drivers have eaten in their car but no matter how small or manageable your food seems to be, it is still a distraction.

‘Even reaching for a chocolate bar or opening a bag of crisps can be dangerous so if you're hungry, always park up to eat.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.