Eating while driving can be a surprisingly dangerous activity. You think, "It will only take a second to reach into this bag for another corn chip," and you take one hand off the wheel. Fine.
But then you grope around the bag and realize the chips are nearly gone. You keep coming up empty. And so you take your eyes off the road to look for those last few chips.
Traffic suddenly stops in front of you. And your car insurance company gets to buy some guy a new rear bumper.
Sure, that's a worst-case scenario. But the fact is, most of us will find ourselves eating while driving at some point, and most of us will at least soil our clothing even if we never cause an accident.
Here are some tips to help you avoid messes and crashes:
Lay out a napkin. Unfold a napkin on your lap before you start driving. That way, you won't be concerned about getting drippings or crumbs on your pants.
Set aside an extra napkin. The last thing you want is to get sauce all over your hands and then be reaching into the glove compartment for extra napkins while you're driving.
Unwrap everything before you start moving. After you pull away from the drive-thru, park for a moment and unwrap all your food. Figure out your attack plan for each item. Get the fries to stand up in the bag so you can easily reach in and grab them a couple at a time. Peel back the wrapper on the burger so you can easily eat the front half. Position the drink in the most convenient cup holder.
Choose a utensil-free meal. I hope it goes without saying that a salad is a terrible idea if you're planning on eating while driving. You also want to avoid anything that's going to fall apart all over your lap and upholstery. I don't even like to eat burgers while driving if they're really stacked with fixins. More of a burrito guy myself. They fit so nicely into the lap.
Consider a liquid meal. Grab a smoothie at Jamba Juice or Jack in the Box, and you may be surprised at how refreshing and filling it can be. The best part is, there's absolutely no mess. Your whole dinner stays confined in a cup. Worst case scenario? The cup sweats a little.
Remember: eating while driving takes a little planning. Don't just say, "I'll figure it out once I'm on the road." Make sure your meal is easily accessible before you hit the highway.