STRANGE BUT TRUE: Government Warns that Chili Dogs Cause Crashes - BodyShop Business
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STRANGE BUT TRUE: Government Warns that Chili Dogs Cause Crashes


While everyone enjoys a snack behind the wheel now and then, some treats are more likely than others to cause crashes. Luckily, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have narrowed down the top 10 foods most likely to cause a crash when eaten behind the wheel.

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1. Coffee – The NHTSA says that a leaky travel mug can be a big distraction when driving on a bumpy road.

2. Hot soup – Drinking it like a hot cuppa Joe can pose the same splashy risk.

3. Tacos – “Any food that can disassemble itself will leave your car looking like a salad bar,” the NHTSA warns in a press release.

4. Chili dogs – This drippy, sloppy snack can distract drivers from the road ahead – not to mention cause heartburn.

5. Hamburgers – Like the dubious chili dog, this portable sandwich has too much drip potential to be trusted by smart drivers.

6. Ribs and chicken wings – Can you say sauce? The NHTSA doesn’t recommend licking one’s fingers while behind the wheel. And tossing the bones out the driver’s side window would be just plain rude.


7. Fried chicken – The Colonel’s favorite snack only means more scrap bones. And those greasy hands? “You’ve got to wipe them off while driving,” the NHTSA points out. So much for finger-lickin’ good.

8. Jelly doughnuts – For those on the run, the NHTSA suggests reaching for a doughnut that doesn’t have an oozy center.

9. Soda – “Carbonation. Fizz in the nose. Lids that leak. Disaster,” says the NHTSA.

10. Chocolate – A bit too melty for wise drivers. “Try to clean the melted chocolate off the steering wheel without swerving,” the NHTSA challenges.


The NHTSA and Virginia Tech say their studies prove that eating while driving slows drivers’ reaction times and is one of the most distracting things motorists can do. Eighty percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve driver distraction, and distraction was most likely to be involved in rear-end collisions in which the lead vehicle was stopped, as well as in single-vehicle crashes.

Sucking down chili dogs isn’t the only distraction posing a risk to drivers: Using a cell phone, reaching for a moving object, looking at an object or event outside the vehicle, reading and applying makeup are also top driver distractions, the NHTSA says.


Shop owners would be wise to think twice before offering customers a soda for the road – especially if they’re driving a newly detailed vehicle – and to warn customers to "just say no" to fast food while driving.

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