young man sitting in the driver's seat with a dog


Should You or Shouldn’t You: Pets as Passengers

We’ve all experienced sitting at a red light or driving down the highway and seeing a dog’s head hanging out the window. For many, driving with pets in their lap or the passenger seat is a daily occurrence, and it can bring much joy to others on the road. However, doing this may not always be the safest option. Read on to learn why.

Why Driving With Pets Can Be Dangerous

It’s estimated that upwards of 84% of dog owners leave their pets unrestrained while in the car. Not only can this be harmful to the dog, especially if a crash occurs, but it can also become quite the distraction. Pawing at the windows, climbing into the front seat, and licking their owners’ faces are common actions for dogs in vehicles—all of which can divert a driver’s attention. In fact, nearly two-thirds of dog owners self-report becoming distracted when their pet is a passenger in the vehicle.

However, that’s not to say that cats or other animals would be any safer. Unrestrained cats can crawl underneath the seats to sit at a driver’s feet, and in more serious cases, cats may find a way to get inside the dashboard while the car is in motion. This could create a fire hazard if the animal knocks over wires or causes the airbags to deploy.

How to Drive Safely With Pets

If you must drive with your pet, there are some things you can do to ensure their (and your) safety:

  • Invest in a pet restraint system: Just like human seatbelts, these come in a variety of sizes and styles to fit any type of animal.
  • Make sure the animal is comfortable: If your pet isn’t used to car rides, start with short trips around the block before going on a longer journey. This will help them get acclimated to the experience.
  • Never leave your pet alone in the car: This is a dangerous proposition for a number of reasons. In addition to the risk of them getting into something they shouldn’t, animals can quickly overheat in parked cars—even on mild days.

More often than not, leaving your pet at home will be the safest thing you can do. While pets may be part of the family, road safety should be the first priority whenever in a moving vehicle.

Serious car accidents may result in long-term disability and put victims out of work, unable to support their family. If you’ve been involved in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you can trust Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers to help you get back on your feet. Call (318) 221-1508 to schedule a free consultation today.

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