Driving With Your Dog Can Be Deadly - Unless You Take These Precautions
According to a survey of the habits of 1,000 dog owners, released Wednesday by AAA and Kurgo, a maker of pet travel products, two out of three dog owners had driven while distracted by their dog. More than half the drivers admitted to petting their dog while driving. One out of five drove with a dog on their lap and just 17 percent of owners in the study used any kind of pet restraint system.
"Even looking away from the roadway for two seconds can increase your risk of a crash," AAA National Traffic Safety Programs Manager Jennifer Huebner-Davidson told Paw Nation.
In addition to creating distractions, dogs can become hazardous to themselves or others during an accident, Huebner-Davidson said. In a 30-miles-per-hour accident, a 50-pound dog flying through the air will hit the windshield or another passenger with the force of a 2,400 pound object. Unrestrained dogs are also at risk of running away or attacking emergency responders out of fear, she said.
Animal harnesses or travel crates that hook into the backseat can greatly limit those risks, she said. Bark Buckle Up, a pet travel safety group, offers a list of safe-travel products. Pet-safety advocates also recommend keeping dogs in the back seat because passenger-side airbags can be deadly to a dog during a crash, even if the animal is buckled in.