SNACKING while behind the wheel can be very tempting, especially if you’re on a long journey.

But what are the rules around eating and drinking while driving? Here’s everything you need to know.

Is it illegal to eat while driving?

Rule 148 of the Highway Code it says that “Safe driving and riding needs concentration.”

Research by the University of Leeds suggests that the reaction times of motorists who were eating were up to 44 percent slower than usual.

Police have warned that even a short lapse in concentration can have serious consequences for all road users.

While it’s not illegal to eat while driving as there’s no specific law against it, drivers should be cautious as it can be almost as dangerous as using a phone while driving.

GettyEating and drinking can be distracting while driving[/caption]

If you get distracted while snacking behind the wheel and are lose control of your vehicle as a result, the police may prosecute you for careless driving.

The offence carries a fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence.

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In more serious cases, or those that are contested in court, the charge can attract a maximum £5,000 fine, up to nine penalty points and even a court-imposed driving ban.

Is it illegal to drink while driving?

Just like eating behind the wheel, having soft drinks while you’re driving is not illegal, but it could carry the same careless driving penalty if you’re distracted.

If you lose control of the vehicle and drinking has been considered a contributing factor, you may be prosecuted and could risk paying a fine of £100 as well as three penalty points.

However, in some situations, it can be also be dangerous not to have any drink in the car as it can lead to dehydration.


Scientists at Loughborough University found that driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink-driving as it can cause a loss of focus and lead to drowsiness and slower reaction times.

Drink alcohol while driving on the other hand is a criminal offence that can carry severe penalties.

We’ve also explained what the fine is for drink driving in the UK and what the guidelines say about the drink drive limit.

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