Millions of Americans recognize that dogs are wonderful companions and often bring their favorite furry friend along on road trips, day trips, and day-to-day errands. However, in a vehicle, this can mean added distractions for the driver and added dangers for all passengers, including pets.
Drivers Distracted by Dogs, Many Don’t Realize It
According to a survey sponsored by AAA, 29 percent of respondents admit to being distracted by their dog while driving; however, 65 percent have participated in at least one distracting behavior while driving with their dog:
More than half (52 percent) have pet their dog while driving.
17 percent allowed their dog to sit in their lap.
13 percent of drivers admitted to include giving food or treats to their dog.
4 percent acknowledged playing with their dog.
All these behaviors can distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.
Unrestrained Dogs Dangerous to Driver, Passenger and Man’s Best Friend
An overwhelming 84 percent of survey respondents stated that they have driven with their pets on a variety of car trips. However, only 16 percent use any form of pet restraint system when driving with their dog.
The use of a pet restraint system can aid in limiting distractions and help protect your pet:
Restraint systems that limit a pet’s ability to distract the driver, restrict pet movement in the crash, and mitigate crash forces, such as those utilizing seat belts, are best to use.
A car’s airbags can prove deadly to a pet. Restraining a pet in the back seat is safest for pets.
Padded harnesses with sturdy connectors and straps are available to connect to a vehicle’s seatbelt or LATCH system. Both hard- and soft-sided crates can be used in vehicles, but should always be strapped down. Pet car seats or basket-style holders can be used with smaller dogs.
A wide variety of barrier systems are available to fit various makes and models of vehicles. These can be helpful in reducing doggie distractions but do not offer protection during a crash.
AAA recommends that pet owners restrain their pet inside the vehicle not only to avoid distraction but to protect the animal and other passengers in a crash. So, each and every time you travel with your dog, just as you put on your seat belt when you hit the road, be sure you do the same for your canine companion.
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