Smart SpendingSmart Spending

The top foods to eat while driving

Nosh while you can. You can't text but you can still eat. So we went ahead and ranked the foods for you in order of ease of edibility while behind the wheel.

By Smart Spending Editor Sep 24, 2013 5:07PM
This post is from Jeffrey Steele from partner site Insure.com.

MSN Money partner/Quinn StreetMany state laws prohibit cell phone use and texting while driving, but there are no laws against eating while driving.
Image: Businessman devouring fries whilst driving car © Ryan McVay, Photodisc, Getty ImagesThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a driving distraction is "anything that diverts the driver's attention from the primary tasks of navigating the vehicle and responding to critical events."

Insure.com recently surveyed 1,500 drivers on the best foods to eat while driving. Drivers were widely divided in their top picks, but the humble candy bar squeaked out a first-place victory.

I'm not advocating eating and driving, but I know you're doing it, so in the spirit of public service I drove while eating each, and offer my findings below.

1. Candy bar
No snickers please, but I found this food item exceptionally easy to consume while in the driver's seat. My KitKat bar proved neat, petite and ultra sweet, confirming why candy bars earn their No. 1 ranking as the best food to eat while driving. Disaster potential: Low. About as safe as road food gets.

2. French fries
My order of fries from a fast food eatery came with so much grease I didn't know whether to eat or give my car a lube job. I safely negotiated the slippery task of consuming the fries while motoring, but will not do so again without a jumbo roll of paper towels riding shotgun. Disaster potential: Low. Residual greasy fingerprint potential: High.

3. Potato chips
Long experience eating chips behind the wheel rendered me an expert. With an open bag of Cool Ranch Doritos between my thighs, I gripped the wheel with my left hand and made regular trips from bag to mouth with my right. Only the chips -- not car bumpers or quarter panels -- crunched. Odd, though I had a paper napkin beside me, I found myself absent-mindedly favoring my right shorts leg and left T-shirt sleeve for crumb removal. Disaster potential: Low, but check your shirtfront before your next meeting.

4, Chicken nuggets
Driving safely while simultaneously consuming chicken nuggets is all about how well the open nuggets container is balanced on your knee. In my case, not well enough. When the nuggets had dwindled to two, I happened to brake suddenly, the box tipped and a little poultry patty ricocheted off my brake pedal. I veered 200 feet into a discount store parking lot and hurled the runaway nugget out a window. Disaster potential: Low, as long as you eat from both sides of the box … and pass on dipping sauces.

5. Doughnut
For this test, I chose a fancy air-inflated French doughnut drenched in white frosting. It was a piece of cake to munch even while negotiating a left-turn lane. Only the sudden plummet of a frosting chunk, which landed harmlessly on my seatbelt, marred the experience. Disaster potential: Low. Look for our future report on jelly-filled vs. cream.

6. Fresh fruit
A ripe, juicy pear seemed a daunting challenge, and it grew more daunting with every bite. The pear juice that did not drench my shirt rolled down my right hand, crossed my wrist, trickled down my arm and finally tickled my elbow. By the time I arrived home I needed a shower. Disaster potential: High. And you still have to deal with half-eaten cores.


7. Hamburger
I rolled through a quiet neighborhood holding a burger with all the fixin's. It quickly started shedding lettuce shreds and tomato seeds down my shirtfront. I thought of all the burger lovers in their cars, and wondered why the nation doesn't suffer more multicar pileups. Disaster potential: High. A juicy burger is America's Unseen Menace.

8. Breakfast sandwich
There's one teeny problem with eating an egg muffin while driving, and that's the egg. Mine was prone to escaping from the edge of the muffin. Monitoring plunging egg chunks while avoiding cars zooming at you at 40 or more mph is taking multitasking too far. Disaster potential: Modest. Crumb factor for biscuit-based sandwiches is off the charts.

9. Breakfast cereal
A baggie of dry breakfast cereal is often my commuting partner. When driving with cereal, size is a critical consideration. Wheat Chex is the right size for easy handling, Grape Nuts is not. Disaster potential: Low. Watch for inhaled Rice Krispies.

10. Sandwich
Given the other foods on this list, I went healthy with a Subway Veggie Delite sandwich piled to the brim with a dozen ingredients. As I drove and ate, the sandwich shed so many pickles, banana peppers, olives and bread crumbs, my pants soon qualified as their own Subway franchise. Disaster potential: Modest. Risk and taste rise hand in hand.

11. Hot dog
Here in Chicago, it is sacrilege to put ketchup on a dog. Relish, yes, mustard, indubitably, but no ketchup. If you're like me and choose French's traditional mustard on your dog while driving, I recommend you wear yellow. You'll do so eventually anyway. Disaster potential: Modest. It's the beer needed to make a hot dog taste great that's the problem.

12. Ice cream cone
A cone's peril is directly proportional to temperature. During a late-summer heat wave, the challenge was significant. I selected tiramisu gelato in a sugar cone, and try as I might couldn't avoid the drips moving from cone to hand to steering wheel, ruining my concentration. Disaster potential: High. Eating quickly to defeat drips leads to brain freeze.

13. Burrito
In an act of reckless abandon, I chose a fast-food bean burrito for this trial. Molten hot and near-liquid in consistency, the bean filling threatened to erupt into my lap. Eating the burrito while trying to navigate the road ahead left almost as much bean on my face as in my mouth. Disaster potential: High. Bib suggested.

14. Pizza
Carrying a to-go slice of Sbarro pizza just slightly smaller than a tabletop, I hit the road. The only possible way to consume this huge triangle of crust, cheese and spinach was to place most of my head inside its three-sided container. That limited my eating to stops at red lights. Had I answered yes to one question from the Sbarro counter girl -- "Would you like sauce on that?" -- I would have had to pay for detailing of my car's interior. Disaster potential: High. Mouth burn, slice collapse, grease seepage.

15. Taco
The chicken taco in this test was blanketed in a thousand shreds of lettuce and cheese, increasing odds that the shell, lettuce, cheese and chicken chunks would shower like a hail storm onto my shirt, lap, car seat and floor mats. By keeping the taco nestled in its paper cradle and shoveling it into my mouth stevedore-style, I kept my car and clothes fairly taco-free. Disaster potential: High, and virtually guaranteed. A taco that doesn't shatter when bitten into isn't really a taco.

Heading out for a drive? McDonald's ranked highest for road-friendly food.

More from Insure.com:
135Comments
Sep 24, 2013 7:50PM
avatar
don't eat and drive -pay attention idiots
Sep 25, 2013 6:47AM
avatar
You shouldn't advise or give people things to eat while drive... I can't believe this is an article on MSN!! People are dumb enough drivers as it is. 
Sep 24, 2013 7:51PM
avatar
This is a joke, right?  You cannot be serious.  But, if so, it is best to throw the cutting board on the dash.  Get you driving partner to take out a very sharp knife.  Cut some baguette, Boursin chees, salami, take out the smoked salmon.  Pop the cork on the wine.  Alternatively, some nice German bread with liverwurst and onions; in that case, crack a few German beers to enhance the drive and lunch experience.
Sep 25, 2013 10:24AM
avatar

You're kidding, right?  The only fresh fruit you can come up with is a too-juicy pear? 

 

Ever hear of a banana?  Grapes? 

 

I think this article was more about "See how humorous I can be by eating like a pig?"

Sep 25, 2013 12:51PM
avatar
how the hell am i suppose to eat with a beer in my hand ?
Sep 25, 2013 9:48AM
avatar
All excellent suggestions for population control. Just don't kill anyone but yourself or knock out the power to the neighborhood when you crash. Inconveniencing the rest of the world with your stupidity is so rude.
Sep 25, 2013 7:13AM
avatar
Amateur. Back in my Navy training days, working 12 on/12 off, usually running late to get to work, I could consume an entire McDonalds Big Mac on my 8 minute drive, with nary a shred of lettuce falling into my lap.  That was back in the early 80's, when Big Macs really were BIG!!
Sep 25, 2013 10:37AM
avatar
If you actually read the list you will realize that it is meant to be a funny article and not a serious one.
Sep 25, 2013 8:22AM
avatar
How about giving yourself a couple of minutes to get out of the car and eating. Very few people are so pushed for time that they can't take a break and get a bite. Think about how you budget your time. If you do things right , you should have time to eat and still get where you need to be. Or perhaps you are taking on too much and need to rethink what you are doing.  I raise kids, worked a full time job and ran my own business and still found time to eat outside the car. Less mess and fewer distractions.  And no funny stains on my shirt or pants.
Sep 25, 2013 10:39AM
avatar
What weird selections.  Fresh fruit... pear?  The worst possible choice.  Banana or apple?  No problem, I do bananas all the time for breakfast while driving.  

Burgers:  if not too big and you fold the wrapper right, it works.  

Candy bar:  Why no Snickers?  Used to be my favorite and same for many others... the combo of chocolate, peanuts and caramel gives you long-lasting energy.  Though maybe not healthy, I have found nothing better than a soft drink and a Snickers for energy and wakefulness for a long drive.  Much better than coffee.  
Sep 25, 2013 10:47AM
avatar
Don't drink and drive -- you might hit a bump and spill it.
Sep 25, 2013 10:43AM
avatar
All of these foods are better for eating while driving than the bowl of cereal with milk I saw one guy eating from his dashboard while hunched over the steering wheel.  This was on the freeway outside San Francisco.
Sep 25, 2013 11:47AM
avatar

I thought that this was going to be an article of what kinds of foods to eat if you're going to be driving long distances. You know, to help fight fatigue, keep you alert, etc.
not what I expected...that being said, my sister can eat a Wendy's single with cheese while driving.

 

She's gifted.

Sep 24, 2013 8:59PM
avatar
What, no steamed artichoke with hollandaise sauce? Mmmmm.  Strip down the little mother, leaf by leaf.  Dip, Strip, savor.
Sep 25, 2013 10:39AM
avatar

Also, at the very beginning he states that he is NOT advocating eating and driving....

Sep 25, 2013 10:59AM
avatar
Seriously?!!? - Who comes up with this mess?
Sep 24, 2013 10:14PM
avatar
  It is not illegal to eat and drive.
Oct 6, 2013 8:22AM
avatar
I like to eat a salad, do my nails, text, put my make up on, tweeze my eyebrows, shop on line, eat soup when finished with my salad, work on my netbook, fold laundry, chop veggies, and flat iron my hair ALL WHILE DRIVING!!
Oct 6, 2013 6:38AM
avatar
Don't talk on the phone, read, text, eat, drink and limit conversation.  You're SUPPOSED to be DRIVING!!!!
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More