Direct Line and road safety charity, Brake, are urging drivers not to eat behind the wheel but to consume food away from their vehicles as part of its ‘Drive Smart’ campaign.

Recent research showed that six in ten people have eaten behind the wheel during the last year, despite the fact that eating a meal at the wheel increases the risk of being involved in a road traffic collision as much as talking on the phone.

It is thought that the number of drivers eating at the wheel mirrors a wider social trend of eating on the move as people’s lifestyles become increasingly fast-paced. The research also revealed that meal times are not the only things that are being pressured as a result of our busy lives, with 20% of drivers admitting to doing their hair, applying make-up or otherwise tidying their appearance while at the wheel.

David Robinson, Chair of RoadPeace North East and a Thompsons solicitor who specialises in serious road traffic collision claims, said: “What seems to be innocent and momentary is reckless driving and that costs lives as we know having seen the devastating effects for our clients.

“Driving is one of the more dangerous things that most of us do on a regular basis, and one that requires our full and undivided attention at all times. Motorists who think they can multi task wouldn’t do it if their child or loved one was on the pavement and about to cross the road in front of them. Putting people into a metal shell seems to make them think they are in their own house and they aren’t. Tonnes of metal momentarily lost control of kills.”