Candy Bars and French Fries Ranked As Best Foods to Eat While Driving

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Survey results from show Americans are widely divided about the best road food, but like McDonald’s as the place to get it.

Best Foods To Eat While Driving
“Our own analysis confirmed candy bars are indeed the best food for the road. Any food that can gush its components, like sandwiches or tacos, proved undesirable.”

Drivers score candy bars and french fries as the best foods to eat while driving, according to a survey by

While American motorists are widely divided in their top picks for car food, 16 percent would choose a candy bar. The go-to snack food scored well on a number of attributes: It can be eaten with one hand, it doesn’t drip and it’s tasty. Out of the 15 foods included in’s survey, candy bars also rated highest for not leaving a smell in the car.

French fries were a very close second for best car food, with 15 percent choosing the hot potato sticks. As with candy bars, fries made it to the top of list due to high scores for being a one-handed food, non-drippy and tasty.

French fries would have ranked No. 1 if they left less odor in the car. Only tacos rated worse for lingering smell.

Here’s how drivers rate the best foods to eat while driving:

Rank/Best food/Percent
1. Candy bar: 16%
2. French fries: 15%
3. Potato chips: 9%
4. Chicken nuggets: 8%
5. Doughnut: 8%
6. Fresh fruit: 8%
7. Hamburger: 7%
8. Breakfast sandwich: 6%
9. Other: 6%
10. Sandwich: 5%
11. Hot dog: 3%
12. Ice cream cone: 3%
13. Burrito: 2%
14. Pizza: 2%
15. Taco: 2%

Granola bars and nuts were the top write-in candidates for “other.”

“Our own analysis confirmed candy bars are indeed the best food for the road,” said Amy Danise, Editorial Director of “Any food that can gush its components, like sandwiches or tacos, proved undesirable.”

Survey respondents also rated each food for driving-friendly attributes. Here are the top- and lowest-scoring foods for each category:

  •     One-handed food -- Best: Candy bar. Worst: Pizza.
  •     Non-drippy – Best: French fries. Worst: Ice cream cone,
  •     Tasty – Best: Candy bar. Worst: Taco.
  •     Filling – Best: Burrito. Worst: Ice cream cone.
  •     Does not leave lingering smell in car – Best: Candy bar. Worst: Taco.

There is more agreement on the worst food to eat while driving: Soup. Among five choices of sloppy eats, the liquid meal was chosen as the worst food to eat while driving by more than a third of respondents:

Rank/Worst food/Percent
1. Soup: 39%
2. Spaghetti: 28%
3. Ribs: 19%
4. Salad: 4%
5. Nachos: 4%

McDonald’s scored a resounding victory as the best place for car food among large chains.

1. McDonald's: 31%
2. Dunkin' Donuts: 11%
3. Wendy's: 7%
4. Other: 7%
5. Starbucks: 7%
6. Burger King: 6%
7. Sonic Drive-In: 5%
8. Chick-fil-A: 5%
9. Taco Bell: 4%
10. Subway: 3%
11. Jack in the Box: 2%
12. Dairy Queen: 2%
13. KFC: 2%
14. Arby's: 2%
15. Panera Bread: 2%
16. Pizza Hut: 1%
17. Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen: 1%
18. Domino's Pizza: 1%
19. Chipotle Mexican Grill: 1%
20. Papa John's: 1%
21. Hardee's: 0%

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Methodology surveyed 1,500 licensed drivers age 25 and older. Respondents were split evenly between males and females and distributed across age groups in line with Census age data. The online-panel survey was fielded in July 2013.

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