Motorists have had their say on what are the ultimate road trip snacks – though some of the highest rated are certainly questionable choices to eat in a car.
After surveying motorists, Uswitch created a pyramid table of the nation’s favourite grub to eat on journeys, with Werther’s Original, Wine Gums, Starburst and – possibly controversially – scotch eggs being named ‘god tier’ items.
But if you thought the scotch egg’s ranking at the top of the charts was surprising, hard-boiled eggs unfathomably managed to make it into the second-highest category for road-trip snacks.
The poll results come at a time when motorists are being persistently warned that eating and driving at the wheel could land them in hot water and a fine – but is this really the case?
Do you agree with this car snacks ranking? Uswitch says it polled 2,000 motorists about their favourite grub on journeys. The results formed the pyramid seen above
The best snacks for car journeys is surely a subject for piping hot debate.
The comparison site says it has created the definitive pyramid of popular items for drivers and passengers to munch on, having polled 2,000 Britons about their favourite in-car items.
Here are the 17 snacks with the highest votes categorised into four tiers…
Uswitch says these are the snacks that can ‘make a pile up on the M6 just about bearable’.
Among the top items is seniors’ favourite, Werther’s Original.
The caramel sweet is a common glovebox-filler. The original hard sweets are likely best to suck on for long treks in vehicles, though the wrappers often end up turning up all over the car for weeks to come.
A favourite among seniors, the Werther’s Original is among motorists’ go-to snacks for journeys
Sweets were a popular choice, such as the age-old Wine Gum and Starbursts (Opal Fruits) – which are at least contained in the own individual wrappers so shouldn’t get stuck to your car seats
Step inside a petrol station of motorway services shop and you’re guaranteed to find scotch eggs. Which might explain why so many snack on them at the wheel
Joining it is fellow sweetie favourites, Wine Gums and Starburst (née Opal Fruits), for those who prefer their sugar-filled confections to be soft.
Rounding out the ‘god tier’ is a questionable selection – the scotch egg.
Sold at just about every service and petrol station up and down the country, Uswitch say its the perfect snack for drivers as they can eat it one handed – though we are going to cover the legal ramifications of munching at the wheel later on.
The next four items are the snacks that didn’t quite squeeze into the ‘god’ standings, but are still huge favourites among Britons.
Packet-based snacks, Maltesers and crisps, were named in the Top tier food items for the car
Health-conscious passengers voted for carrot sticks and hummus, splitting the high-in-sugar and calorific products listed
The unhealthy options are Maltesers and crisps in general, while plenty of people admitted they consume one of their five a day by having carrot sticks and hummus when in the car.
But it’s the final top-tier item that we’re not sure about – hard-boiled eggs.
Surely the most debatable entry in the pyramid is hard-boiled eggs. Britons voted it to get into the top tier of snacks
Of all the food products listed, this is by far the most controversial.
Not to all tastes and guaranteed to kick out one hell of a pong in the confined space of a car, there are plenty of motorists who would have a full-on meltdown if one of their passengers started eating one of these in their motor.
Once you’ve recovered from the suggestion that boiled eggs are a good car snack, you’re likely to be less dubious of these mid-tier products to eat on the move.
Uswitch called this the ‘dependable tier’ – the items that ‘won’t fill you with excitement but will never let you down’.
Hard sweets like Mentos are ideal for the car as they don’t react to temperature as much as other confectionery
Another entry for chewy sweets – Fruitella made it into the list. Chewitz probably quality under the same bracket
Not everyone loves liquorice, but the Bertie Bassett sweets garnered plenty of support
Starting with the sweets, Mentos, Fruitella and Liquorice Allsorts make the cut.
This tier also has the only biscuit item in the pyramid – Oreos. These are seen as the ideal car bisucit as they won’t melt in high temperatures and the crumb quota is relatively low.
That isn’t the case for the final entry in this category, which is sausage rolls and pasties.
Oreos are the only biscuit items to make it into the list – possibly because they don’t melt in hot conditions
Despite the flakiness of the pastry – causing headaches for OCD car owners – sausage rolls and pasties were chosen in the mid tier snacks
Like the scotch egg, you’ll always see them in the fridge sections of petrol stations – which might explain why they received so many votes.
However, eat them or let passengers devour them at your own peril, as the pesky flakes and crumbs will almost guarantee you’ll need to vacuum your seats and footwells at the end of your trip.
Finally, these are the lesser-chosen items that seem to have garnered a cult following of fans.
Among them is Flipz chocolate pretzels. While standard pretzels will likely leave you gagging for a drink, these are far less dry but will almost certainly melt if you don’t have the air-con on full blast.
While standard pretzels will likely leave you gagging for a drink, Flipz chocolate versions are far less dry, but they will melt. As will Skittles, leaving your hands a rainbow-coloured mess
Surprisingly low in the standings is Skittles. Again, they’re another item you’ll likely find wedged into every crease and crevice in your car’s interior and – when exposed to heat – will leave your fingers and palms a rainbow of colours.
Chopped fruit is the healthy option to scrape into the standings along with Peperami, which is at least contained within its own packaging but could – like hard-boiled eggs – put out quite a terrible pong.
Chopped fruit was the only other healthy snack alongside carrots and hummus
Peperami was the final entry. While it is self contained in its own packaging, the smell could be too much for some
Can you really be fined for eating or drinking at the wheel?
There have been plenty of articles claiming that motorists can be fined and prosecuted if caught eating at the wheel – but is it a genuine law or nothing more than scaremongering?
The fact is that it’s not illegal to eat while at the controls of a car.
However, there is a significant grey area.
It is NOT illegal to eat while at the controls of a car, however, motorists can still face fines if police believe it is distracting them from driving
Rule 148 of the Highway Code stipulates: ‘Safe driving and riding needs concentration. Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as: loud music (this may mask other sounds); trying to read maps; starting or adjusting any music or radio; arguing with your passengers or other road users; eating and drinking; smoking.’
The police can prosecute motorists for careless driving if snacking or drinking at the wheel has caused an accident or officers witness poor behaviour on the road as a result of someone sipping down a coffee or munching through an apple.
In these situations, a driver can be deemed to not be in proper control of the vehicle – an offence which carries an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points.
While this might be the case, the level of enforcement is extremely low – especially with police budgets being cut and there being far fewer road traffic officers on our roads today.
The chances of being prosecuted? Slim, at best.
But there are risks if motorists do eat or drink at the wheel.
Research has shown that is can be just as dangerous to eat at the wheel as checking phone notifications or making calls.
Leeds University in 2012 found that reaction times of people eating at the wheel were 44 per cent slower than those that weren’t snacking and driving.
That said, scientists at Loughborough University found that driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink-driving.
Dehydration can cause a loss of focus and lead to drowsiness and slower reaction times, it found. Drivers are urged by motoring groups to carry water on long journeys – particularly hot weather – to keep dehydration at bay.
Dehydration can cause a loss of focus and lead to drowsiness and slower reaction times. Motorists are told to always carry a bottle of water for long journeys, particularly in the heat
It’s easy to see why there is so much confusion and mis-information about fines for snacking when driving.
This is Money asked the RAC what its standpoint on the rules were.
Rod Dennis, a spokesman for the motoring organisation, said: ‘While there is no specific law against eating and drinking at the wheel, it’s not advised for obvious safety reasons – but if a police officer were to observe you doing so you run the risk of being pulled over for not driving with due care and attention.’
Motorists are warned that grabbing a burger at the drive-thru could also see them risk a fine if they are caught using digital wallet services like Apple Pay on their mobile phone to pay for their order while the vehicle’s engine is running.