Pet owners would spend every hour of the day with their dogs if they could. So, it’s not surprising that many people bring their dogs along on car rides as they run errands. There’s no denying that dogs can be entertaining driving companions, but it’s still important to remember that they can be a major distraction when left unrestrained.
The dangers of distracted driving
In 2021, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 120 fatal crashes in Kentucky. Distractions can be anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road. Texting, loud music, eating while driving, talking to passengers in the car and applying makeup are just some of the distractions that have led to car accidents.
Likewise, unrestrained pets can be unpredictable in the car due to their natural curiosity. As a result, they can be a major source of distraction in many ways.
How distracting can pets be?
The risk of a driver becoming distracted while operating a motor vehicle increases when a pet is present. Dogs may bark continuously, jump out of windows or dash out the door after you unlock it. If the dog is stressed from the ride, you might have to hold or feed it a treat to calm it down.
If your dog isn’t restrained, it could jump on your lap, get in the way or even fall on your feet while driving. And to make matters worse, if the car comes to a sudden stop, the dog may become a projectile, crash into you or other occupants or injure itself.
Ways to drive with your pet
The best way to enjoy a peaceful and safe drive with your dog is to use a pet restraint and keep them in the back seat. There are many dog crates or harnesses made for car rides that could help keep your dog safe and under control. Training your dog to be calm and comfortable in the car can also go a long way.
It could be challenging to file a claim to your insurance company if you get into an accident that involves your unrestrained dog. Other motorists involved may also hold you responsible for damages. Investing in pet safety gear and training your dog is a good idea to keep you and others safe on drives.