Everyone knows that it’s a bad idea (not to mention illegal) to drink alcoholic beverages before or while driving. However, we usually don’t stop to think about drinking non-alcoholic beverages. One of the most common drinks that people have in their car is coffee, though even water, tea, and soft drinks can be problematic.
Coffee is one drink that many Americans can’t do without. With the fast paced life some working people have now, it’s not always possible to enjoy that essential cup of Joe at home. With coffee chains having quick takeaway and drive-thru options, it’s now normal to see people chugging a large coffee on their way to work in the morning.
While we can’t do much about our schedules, the fact remains that eating and drinking anything while driving is a distraction. Even if you’re taking a sip of water while at the wheel, your focus is not on the road or other cars. With the coffee factored in, you’re also risking dangerous and damaging spills. This could lead to burns, stains, and a waste of the coffee itself.
While they won’t completely mitigate the danger, there are some precautions we can take to ensure our safety while drinking coffee in a car. Following some strict rules might be able to save us from accidents, burns, and irreversible stains. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind now:
1. Keep It Cold
If you just need the caffeine fix, see if a cold brew or cold coffee will do the trick. Some actually prefer their coffee to me more like a dessert, with sweet sauces and whipped cream inside. While these are not the best option for your health, they do allow you to sip coffee through a straw. Sweet cold coffees are also thicker, so you’re less likely to have a spray of droplets on your car upholstery or work clothes every time the car goes over a bump.
For those who can take their beverage cold, getting cold brewed coffee is probably a healthier option. You can even make your own cold brew liquid at home and use that for coffee each day. Here are some more tips for bringing coffee from home.
2. Have Your Own Cup
Even if you’re getting your cup of joe at a chain store or a cafe, get a reusable cup for the drive. The takeaway cups at most places have flimsy lids; in case of an especially high bump or jerk, the liquid is bound to spill out.
If the cafe won’t use your cup, get their usual offering and pour it into your cup before getting into the car (or pour when the car is stationary). Make sure your cup has a thick, tight-fitting lid that won’t get knocked off or loosen up without warning.
Investing in a quality travel mug is also a good idea if you love hot coffee and tea. Most models have tightfitting lids and the capacity to keep drinks around their initial temperature.
3. Drink Only When the Car is Stationary
It’s tempting to have a large sip of coffee while you’re driving, but hold that urge as much as possible. While you’re driving to work or school, there are bound to be at least some traffic signals along the way. Have a sip just before you start the car again, when stuck in line, waiting for the kids to emerge from school, or just after turning the engine off at your destination.
It’s usually possible to limit your sips of coffee to the times when the car isn’t in motion. Incidentally, the same goes for anyone in the passenger or back seat; a moving car and a hot cup of coffee are just a recipe for disaster.
4. Use Half a Cup
If you’re taking your homemade coffee to go, fill only half a cup before heading out their door. You can always take two half cups or make do with the coffee they have at your workplace. Alternatively, get a huge cup or ask the cafe to put your order in a larger cup. The empty space will create a buffer between the liquid and the rim, making spills and splashes less likely.
5. Use Proper Coffee Machines
There are some individuals that might feel the need for a whole coffee machine in their cars. This might not be the best idea, but it could be necessary at times. If you must have one of those, make sure that you meet the following requirements for safety and efficiency:
- The size of the coffee maker should be relative to the size of your vehicle. Most espresso makers or all-in-one coffee makers are usually too big for small or medium cars.
- Most models of coffee makers aren’t meant for use in the car. If you’re getting one for your caffeine needs while on the go, ensure that the model has the adaptor needed to work in an automobile. There should also be special factors inside the vehicle, prefrontal those that can candle 120V.
- Keep in mind that regular coffee machines could place a lot of strain on the battery of your car as well as the alternator. You might not get as much mileage as before, so opt for a car-specific coffee maker next time.
It might sound like a weird idea, but having a coffee maker in the car isn’t really all that strange. If you go on a lot of road trips, have a long commute, or absolutely need coffee at several points in the day, having the proper appliance in your vehicle will help. Some people even take their juicer on the road with them, so a coffee maker shouldn’t be so far-fetched
6. Choose Sturdy Materials
Whether you’re buying a travel mug, a cup, or a whole new coffee maker for the car, keep in mind that the materials are the most important deal. After all, you’re probably going to use these things for a hot beverage. If the plastic in the coffee machine or the cup isn’t BPA-free, it could leach toxins into the drink and eventually make you sick.
For this and any other car gadget that you buy, the materials should also be sturdy enough to last a long time. Plus, you want your coffee cup to be study, practical, and resistant to breakage. Quality materials might cost a lot, but they’re worth the experience. You can always ask a friend if a certain item is really long-lasting and then make a final decison.
Coffee is responsible for several driver errors as well as adverse health issues. You might feel really alert and productive shortly after drinking that cup in the car, but the caffeine crash is going to come soon. This could distort you even more while driving, and might even make you a bit disoriented.
Finally, be careful about taking coffee to places like tailgating parties and the like. Any spilled coffee on the exterior of your car can result in a ruined paint job. This is because both soda and coffee have acids that might harm the car’s paint. If there are any spills of this nature, ensure that you wash off the liquid right away.