Driving and Coffee - Do They Mix?

Driving and Coffee - Do They Mix?

There’s a day to celebrate almost everything, and since 2015 there’s been a day to celebrate coffee. On October 1, International Coffee Day, events take place in 54 countries around the world, from Africa to Canada and Indonesia to Colombia. Why should we focus on coffee for a whole day? Not only to share our love of the dark brew but also to bring attention to the role of men and women who work hard to cultivate those beans we so appreciate. 

Many drivers are quite eager to celebrate caffeine. Caffeine can be the boost that keeps a person alert behind the wheel. Whether they’re driving long distances or just across town, drivers need to stay watchful when on the road. Studies have shown that moderate amounts of caffeine have an important effect on improving driving skills, even after many sleepless hours. That’s good news for drivers since drowsy driving increases crashes and fatalities. In 2015, in the United States there were 90,000 crashes that involved drowsy driving.

Therefore, having a cup of Joe at hand while driving can seem like a great solution. However, beware that your frothy latte doesn’t become a distraction.

Be aware of the dangers of distracted driving

Distracted driving is a serious problem on the road. In 2015 alone, 391,000 people were injured and in 2016 there were 3,450 people who died due to drivers getting distracted behind the wheel. That’s why many states have enacted laws about distracted driving.

What is a distraction? Distractions can be varied, ranging from tuning the radio to another station, talking with someone else in the car – or reaching for that cup of Joe. While cell phone use is the main culprit for distracted driving, anything that makes us stop focusing on the road can have disastrous consequences.

There are three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Being distracted by a cup of coffee can involve all three. If you glance down to check where your cup is (visual distraction), take your hand off the wheel to reach for it (manual distraction), and concentrate on how tasty that cappuccino is going to be (cognitive distraction), you would be involved in all three types of distractions! 

Will coffee distract you?

So how can you make sure you get your caffeine boost without risk? While it's fine to drink coffee while driving, you do want to make sure your coffee cup is not the cause of a distraction. You should easily be able to sip at your Java while not taking your eyes off the road. So, make sure you have unhindered access to your coffee cup before you hit the road. Otherwise, if a police officer finds you swerving around the highway because you’re trying to get a grip on your to-go cup, you may find yourself with a ticket.

How can you celebrate International Coffee Day? 

If you’d like to get into a celebrating mood on International Coffee Day, you can participate in the international events in several ways:

- Attend a coffee event at your favorite coffee shop

- Host a coffee cupping (tasting) at your home or office

- Post a video about your coffee love to your favorite social media and use the official hashtag  #internationalcoffeeday

- Learn to drink coffee in a new way – try coffee from a different country or brew it in an unusual way

- Watch movies that feature coffee

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