Got a hunger pang on the road, then tear open a candy bar or graze on French fries. Crunchy tacos and topping-rich pizzas may taste yummy, but they make too big a mess and leave lingering odors. And sipping soup while steering? Forget about it.

Those results stem from a survey by, in which the company asked drivers for their favorite treats to snack on when they’re behind the wheel.

To compile the sampling, in July surveyed 1,500 licensed drivers age 25 and older.

“Americans have a tough time agreeing on the best foods to eat while driving, but our new survey found that candy bars and French fries score highest in a list of 15 road foods,” said Amy Danise, editorial director of Foster City, Calif.-based Potato chips, chicken nuggets, doughnuts and fresh fruit also placed high.

Pizza, tacos, burritos, ice cream cones and hot dogs landed at or near the bottom.

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

Separately, 39 percent of motorists picked soup over spaghetti, 28 percent; and ribs, 19 percent; as the worst meal to eat while driving. Also on the list of five sloppy foods were salad and nachos, which tied with 4 percent apiece.

Candy bars won out as the top car snack for a number of reasons. “It can be eaten with one hand, it doesn’t drip and it’s tasty,” according to

French fries placed a close second for best car food. As with candy bars, fries excel as a one-handed, non-drippy and tasty food. But it only bested tacos in lingering smell, the company noted.

Candy bars scored highest overall for one-handed food, tastiest and least lingering smell while fries lead for non-drippy and burrito for filling. Ice cream cone finished last in filling and in non-drippy, taco placed worst for lingering smells and for tastiness and pizza bottomed out in the one-handed food category.

The research company also surveyed the best places for car food among large chains. McDonald’s easily ranked first with 31 percent followed by Dunkin’ Donuts at 11 percent and Wendy’s, Starbucks and “other” at 7 percent. describes itself as an information provider for various types of insurance including auto, home, health and life. Publicly-traded QuinStreet Inc. online media and marketing corporation owns

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1. Candy bar, 16 percent.

2. French fries, 15 percent.

3. Potato chips, 9 percent.

4. Chicken nuggets, 8 percent

5. Doughnut, 8 percent.

6. Fresh fruit, 8 percent.

7. Hamburger, 7 percent.

8. Breakfast sandwich, 6 percent.

9. Other, 6 percent.

10. Sandwich, 5 percent.

11. Hot dog, 3 percent.

12. Ice cream cone, 3 percent.

13. Burrito, 2 percent.

14. Pizza, 2 percent.

15. Taco, 2 percent.

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


Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or