Skip to main content

Practicing good car safety means keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Distracted driving causes many crashes each year, and phones aren’t the only culprit. Drivers sometimes preoccupy themselves with other tasks behind the wheel, such as applying makeup or eating.

Anything that distracts you from the road is a potential hazard, except in a few rare cases. According to the Daily Mail, one trucker’s healthy snack almost killed him until a huge crash saved his life. Here’s his story and how you can avoid such a harrowing accident.

A strange crash involving a trucker and his snack

A tractor trailer and a concrete truck on Florida's Turnpike
A tractor-trailer and a concrete truck on Florida’s Turnpike | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Pennsylvania trucker Richard Paylor was enjoying an apple behind the wheel of his tractor-trailer en route to his next destination. At some point, a part of the apple became stuck in Paylor’s throat. As he was trying to force the fragment from his windpipe, his 18-wheeler crashed into a concrete barrier. 

The resulting impact roused Paylor from unconsciousness and dislodged the chunk of apple. Fortunately, the crash only demolished the concrete barrier, and no other drivers were involved in the accident. Paylor was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. However, the resulting clean-up of the crash caused a five-hour traffic jam on the highway.

Another strange car crash took place at a pizzeria in 2013. An older driver’s foot accidentally got stuck on the pedal, causing him to crash through the restaurant’s front door. Bystanders and authorities reported that the driver was unharmed, apparently only concerned with ordering food.

And another older motorist drove through a Dunkin’ store a year earlier. We’re not sure if her motives were food-related because she crashed through an optometrist’s office soon after.

Also, too many fast-food wrappers and debris in your car can be hazardous. One woman’s car was so littered with drink containers that some of them became lodged under the pedals. A car filled with garbage isn’t just an eyesore: It can also be a problem for other drivers. Trash can fly out of rolled-down windows, potentially distracting motorists. A passing police officer might also charge you with littering. 

Tragically, not all of these collisions have such lighthearted endings. According to Healy Scanlon, a trucker in California experienced a similar problem as Paylor. A chunk of his lunch became lodged in his throat, and he passed out at the wheel.

He proceeded to hit a guardrail, a divider, and three other cars before regaining consciousness. As with Paylor, the final impact dislodged the food from the driver’s throat. Unfortunately, the crash caused two fatalities from a head-on collision with a BMW. The riders in the other two cars escaped with minor injuries.

What if you have to eat behind the wheel?


5 Dangerous Driving Distractions That Could Kill You

Sometimes it’s better to eat while driving and avoid passing out from hunger, especially for busy truckers. If you must eat behind the wheel, take small bites, and don’t eat anything that requires utensils. Even better, try to wait until red lights or traffic stops before taking the next bite.

You should also drink frequently while eating. Though this might result in more rest stops, it reduces your chances of choking on food. Meal replacement shakes are also a good alternative to eating and driving.

In the event of a crash, the resulting jolt could save you from choking. Still, you should do your best to avoid that kind of situation in the first place.