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Max Heine

The best – and worst – foods to gobble while driving

| September 24, 2013

Let’s hear it for the humble candy bar. A survey from Insure.com finds that it’s the best food to eat while driving. French fries ranked a close second, only one percentage point behind the candy bar.

(My favorite bar, by the way, is Snickers. Great taste and texture, fills you up, and the peanuts provide a little protein. In fact, a Snickers feels like a great dessert masquerading as a protein bar without the yucky condensed oatmeal texture and weird flavors. Though I’m disgusted by the highway robbery of recent years in which the classic Snickers and its inferior iterations have soared well north of $1 in truck stops and convenience stores.)

Not all fast food is created equally when it comes to eating while driving.
Not all fast food is created equally when it comes to eating while driving.

But I digress. The survey’s race wasn’t as close when it came to “best place for car food among large chains.” McDonald’s got 31 percent of the vote, helped, no doubt, by having outlets everywhere you turn. Dunkin’ Donuts was a distant second, at 11 percent, then Wendy’s and other also-rans at 7 percent and below.

Here are the best and worst in the survey’s five key categories:

  • One-handed food — Best: Candy bar. Worst: Pizza.
  • Non-drippy – Best: French fries. Worst: Ice cream cone.
  • Tasty – Best: Candy bar. Worst: Taco.
  • Filling – Best: Burrito. Worst: Ice cream cone.
  • Does not leave lingering smell in car – Best: Candy bar. Worst: Taco.

One odd thing about the press release accompanying the survey was the absence of any safety comments – and this, coming from a consumer insurance website. While cell phone texting and talking has driven most of the concerns over driver distraction, safety researchers have studied every imaginable thing that interfere with focused driving, including food.

One study “found that eating while driving was riskier than talking on a cell phone,” according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. However, data on a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration page places talking with passengers or on a cell phone as much worse than eating.

Whatever. Common sense tells you eating or drinking while driving has the potential for causing accidents. Especially trying to consume some of the messy things covered glibly in the survey announcement – soup, pizza, salads, ice cream cones. 

Which is one more good reason to hit up a Snickers bar. If you can afford it.

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