Some pets just can’t wait to go for rides in the car, especially so they can stick their heads out the window and feel the wind against their furry faces. Taking animals along for car rides is convenient and sometimes unavoidable. However, it can also be dangerous for the both of you — unless the proper safety precautions are taken.
In a survey sponsored by AAA and Kurgo Pet Products, 65 percent of respondents admitted to at least one type of distracted driving while riding with a pet passenger. AAA described these distracted driving behaviors as:
- Petting your dog while driving
- Allowing your dog to sit in your lap
- Feeding your dog
- Playing with your dog
Now, if talking or texting on a cell phone can distract a driver enough to cause an accident, we’re willing to bet that playing with an animal can be just as dangerous. When your dog is unrestrained during the car ride, the danger becomes even greater. Your pet passenger has the ability to jump around in the car, possibly bumping the driver. Also, an unrestrained pet is at high risk of injury in the event of a crash. Air bags can be deadly to animals, especially those moving around during a car crash. In order to keep your dog safe during road trips, you should show him or her the same courtesy you do yourself. After all, you wear a seatbelt.
There are a number of pet restraint systems available. Smaller dogs can be kept in a carrier held in place by a seatbelt, similar to the way a child’s carseat works. Certain companies also make harnesses that latch onto seat belts and will keep your dog in place without confining them too much. And remember, pets should always ride in the backseat.