Foods You Should Never Eat While Driving

We’re all guilty of eating in the car. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to enjoy all three meals comfortably sitting down at a table. Some foods, though, are a lot more dangerous to eat while driving than others. The next time you grab something to-go to eat in the car, make sure it’s not one of these items.

1. Tacos

Two fish tacos topped with coleslaw
This would turn into a mess. | Brutlag

US Insurance Agents lists tacos as one of the worst foods you can eat while driving. With two open ends, a flimsy shell, and lots of loose contents inside, it’s just not a practical food to eat on the road. If you have a Mexican food craving when you’re on the go, swap the tacos for a burrito.

Next: Stay away from these specific kinds of donuts. 

2. Powdered or jelly-filled doughnuts

Jelly Doughnuts
Your clothes won’t be clean afterward. | iStock/Getty Images

“So you swing into Dunkin’ Donuts and get your nice hot coffee and tasty jelly doughnut. You take a bite, and the jelly oozes out the end and drips all over your nice new work pants. You guessed it, a major driver distraction!” warns Drive Safely. Sometimes all you want in the morning is a doughnut and a hot cup of coffee on the way to work. By all means, indulge when you want, but stick with the simpler donuts.

Next: Be careful with what you order from In-N-Out.  

3. Juicy hamburgers

It might fall apart. | Nitrub/iStock/Getty Images

Thankfully, a lot of fast food burgers are pretty contained these days. They’re wrapped up tightly and don’t usually feature layer upon layer of drippy sauce and fixings. Where you want to be careful is with your animal-style In-N-Out burgers, your Big Macs, and your mom and pop charbroiled burgers. These tend to drip all over and fall apart after a couple bites.

Next: If it needs a fork, it’s probably a safe bet to assume you shouldn’t eat it while driving.  

4. Salad

You can’t use a fork and drive. | Vitalssss/iStock/Getty Images

Anything you need to eat with a fork (i.e., anything you need to look down at to stab with a fork) is not safe to consume while driving. “Eating a salad usually requires both hands as well as your vision, and that makes you a dangerous person to share the road with,” says US Insurance Agents. If you’re crunched for time and need to squeeze in your salad lunch for the day, pull over and take 15 minutes to eat it in a parking lot.

Next: Ok, this one hurts … 

5. French fries

Plate with fries potato, ketchup and mayonnaise on the table.
They’re dangerously greasy. | LIgorko/iStock/Getty Images

This is an unfortunate truth to swallow because eating french fries in the car is awesome. There’s nothing like pre-gaming with a few fries on the way home to get you excited for the burger you picked up. But Schaefer Autobody Centers lists them as one of the worst foods you can eat while driving. They make the list because they’re messy (they tend to fall into the cracks of your seats and inner consoles and leave grease everywhere), and anything that’s especially messy isn’t safe to consume while driving.

Next: Pizza should be eaten in front of the TV, not in the car.  

6. Pizza

Cheesy pepperoni pizza with one section cut into a slice.
This could easily turn into a mess. | bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

Pizza was meant to be eaten at the table with friends and family or in front of the TV anyway. If it’s saucy, cheesy, and greasy, it shouldn’t be eaten while driving. Most people need two hands to eat their pizza.

Next: This food item is a ticking time bomb.  

7. Ice cream

Woman with ice cream cone
Those drips are dangerous. | Pablo_K/iStock/Getty Images

Unless you’ve already licked off the top and you’re down to the inside of the cone, eating an ice cream cone while driving is nothing short of stressful. It’s hard to concentrate on both the road and the cold, dripping cream in your hand. And eating it out of a to-go container isn’t any better because, just like with salad, you have to look down to get a spoonful.

Next: This item is deceiving in how messy it is … 

8. Hot dogs

Chicago-style hot dog
The toppings will probably spill on you. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

“These delicious little guys are deceptive. They look easy to handle and why wouldn’t they be? They even come with their own little ergonomically perfect delivery bun,” says Schaefer Autobody Centers. “The problems arise when the toppings spill over onto your white button up.”

Next: Save this one for when you get home and can enjoy it in the backyard. 

9. Barbecue

glazed pork ribs
Barbecue is a two-hands kind of meal. | Volgutova

Having a car-full of barbecue is almost torture. How in the world are you going to make it all the way home without sampling even one rib? You call upon your innermost strength, that’s how.

“Getting barbecue sauce all over your clothes and nice leather car seat will surely lead to distracted driving,” says Drive Safely. It’s best to wait until you get home to your backyard, where you can lay out your whole spread.

Next: Sorry, Popeyes.  

10. Fried chicken

Homemade Southern Fried Chicken
The grease isn’t safe. |

Fried chicken also makes Drive Safely’s list of the most dangerous foods to eat while driving. The general rule of thumb is: if it’s greasy, if it’s messy, and if it constantly requires the driver to be wiping their hands, it’s not safe to eat while driving. Fried chicken checks all three boxes.

Next: If you spill this hot item while driving, you could cause an accident.  

11. Soup

leek and potato soup and ingredients on wooden cutting board
Even sipping soup could be dangerous. | ClaudioVentrella/iStock/Getty Images

Eating soup in a bowl with a spoon while driving is crazy–never do that. But even slurping on some soup out of one of those to-go mug-style soup cans can be pretty dangerous. Drive Safely says these to-go soup containers are just as dangerous because if you go over a bump and hot soup spills on your lap it could be dangerous for everyone around you, depending on how you react. A hot spill has the potential to cause an accident.

Next: Not on its own, and not as a topping …  

12. Chili

Turkey Chipotle Chili garnished with bacon
This is definitely not a car food. |

This mostly goes for chili as a topping. Chili on hot dogs, chili on burgers, and chili on chips are all dangerous eating-while-driving meals. Chili out of a bowl with a spoon is also a no-go because of the “looking down” factor. It’s no wonder chili made Schaefer Autobody Centers’ list of the worst foods to eat while driving.

Next: Sorry, Wendy’s.

13. Baked potato

baked potato
You probably should be sitting down — and not driving — to eat one. | John Shepherd/iStock/Getty Images

Some of you may be asking “Why would anyone ever eat a baked potato in the car?” To you I say: Looks like you need to re-familiarize yourself with the Wendy’s menu. Wendy’s is a perfect fast food stop to pick up some food to eat on the go. But drivers should stay away from the several baked potato options they have on their menu because, though delicious (surprisingly so for a fast food baked potato), they’re stacked high with cheese and other various toppings, making them quite messy.

Next: Another item better suited for your backyard than car.  

14. Corn on the cob

two grilled corn cobs
Corn requires two hands. | iStock

“This one requires two hands to be done right and we’re willing to bet you don’t have a new self-driving car from Google,” zings Schaefer Autobody Centers. If your corn isn’t slathered in butter, salt, garlic, and cayenne pepper you’re missing an opportunity. Wait to eat your corn until you get home so you can really do it up right.

Next: You’ll be shocked to find this one on the list.  

15. Coffee

Starbuck coffee
Coffee is responsible for many accidents. | Payphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Unfortunately, coffee is one of the most dangerous things you can sip on while driving. According to Drive Safely, “coffee is responsible for more distracted driving accidents than any other food item.”  When possible, wait to sip on your hot cup of joe until you get to your destination, or enjoy it before you leave.

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