The humble packet of crisps is the most dangerous food to eat while driving.
A study found that millions of motorists have crashed while holding the steering wheel in one hand a crisp packet in the other.
Unwrapping chocolate bars and trying to open fizzy drinks bottles – which both require two hands – also causes millions of drivers to take their eyes off the road, it emerged.
Opening and then sipping canned drinks or hot beverages such as tea or coffee also emerged as contributing factors to many driving errors.
The study was commissioned by the makers of i-kube, a curfew device which cuts insurance premiums for young motorists by monitoring driving time.
Yesterday a spokesman said: ”Despite the danger, millions of drivers are still happy to eat or drink when they are driving.
”It may seem easy to munch on a snack while you’re driving, but no matter how hard you try, it takes some of your concentration away from the road.
”Even though you may be looking at the road ahead, you are thinking about how to unwrap something, or where to put down a drink once you have finished.
”As these results show, eating or drinking behind the wheel causes accidents.
“It’s much safer to take a break at a service station instead of trying to do two things at once.”
The research revealed one in twenty drivers has had an accident or near miss after munching on some food behind the wheel.
And almost one in ten has had a crash, or been close to one, while trying to unwrap food or open a drinks bottle.
The study of 3,000 drivers also revealed six out of ten drivers regularly eat and drink behind the wheel.
But while 59 per cent claim to be in complete control of car still, one in ten admit they sometimes lose concentration.
It also emerged one in twenty drivers has had a crash or near miss while trying to get rid of food wrappers or clear up a mess.
Another one in twenty has lost control of the car, or almost crashed, after spilling food or drink on themselves.
Some have been caught out though after snacking on the road as almost five per cent of drivers have been pulled over for tucking in while driving.
And although 34 per cent of those were just given a warning, a third were actually cautioned and more than a quarter ended up with a fine.
Eight per cent were arrested.
Researchers also found four out of ten people think it should be illegal to eat or drink behind the wheel.
And 47 per cent think eating or drinking while driving is just as dangerous as talking on a mobile phone.
A spokesman for i-kube added: ”This study highlights just how many hazards there are for drivers, not only on the road but in the car.
”We focus on helping young drivers to stay off the roads at the most dangerous times as this can dramatically reduce their risk of accidents and cut the price of their insurance. Perhaps we need to develop a snack alarm next.”
TOP TEN DRIVING DANGER FOODS
2. Chocolate bar
3. A bottled drink
4. A canned drink
6. Sandwich or wrap