Distractions while driving can cause fatal accidents. There are times when a quick message or taking a bite of your breakfast sandwich while driving has led to deadly outcomes. It can be equally distracting to travel with a pet inside your car. A dog roaming freely inside the car might suddenly jump playfully at you, or may act out in other similarly distracting ways.

Did you know that according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, or NHTSA, any diversion that is more than 2 seconds increases your chances of crashing? Kelly & Soto, Boston auto accident attorneys state: “Drivers who are busy on cellphones, either calling, talking, reading, or answering texts or emails are an extreme danger to other drivers and their passengers. Others are distracted by in-vehicle activities such as eating, personal grooming, or engaging with passengers or systems within the vehicle. This draws visual, cognitive, and manual attention off the task of safe driving and contributes to accidents daily.” This is why you should take certain safety measures if you plan on driving with your pet.

Riding in Cars with Dogs

Restrain Your Pet

You should use a crate and safety belts/harnesses to keep your pet restrained inside your vehicle at all times. If you are wondering what to do if your pet becomes restless and impatient, a great tip is for your dog to be well exercised before they get in the car. In this way, they will be more inclined to rest inside the crate, allowing you to drive safely. If you are putting your dog inside a crate, you need to make sure that there are no leashes and loose collars inside the crate. These types of materials can cause strangling hazards.

Keep Your Pet Safe and Comfortable

Do not force the dog inside the crate. Train your dog beforehand to go inside the crate on their own if you will be traveling. In this way, your pet will be conditioned to feel cozy and comfortable, and definitely not caged. This training might take some time, but it is worth the effort. You will be able to comfortably travel with your best friend without worrying about their behavior inside your vehicle. Keep in mind that seat belts and air bags that are meant for the humans are not meant for pets. These should not be used to keep your pet safe. Your pet will be safer traveling in the back seat, as airbags in the front seat may be dangerous even for larger breeds.

Limit their Movement

Leashes are good for dogs, but they are not enough when it comes to restraining them inside a vehicle. For large dogs, crates are probably the best option. For smaller dogs, or dogs that enjoy riding in vehicles, harness-style belts are a great option. You can find these at most pet stores. They hold your pet safely and prevents them from getting hurt or hurting others in the car. Be mindful that a loose dog in your vehicle can become hurt in a car collision, or may cause enough distraction to cause one. It is also important to note that first responders after a car crash may become injured by a frightened pet. If you enjoy traveling with your companion, it is important to consider your safety, your pet’s safety, and the safety of motorists sharing the road with you.

Do you travel with your pet? How do you keep them safe?

Filed under: Relocating and/or Traveling With Your Dog

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