While you may already know that texting, making phone calls and reading digital maps can all contribute to car accidents, it may surprise you to discover that traveling with your pets also contributes to such incidents. A 2019 poll by the car manufacturer Volvo revealed that both people and pets experienced increased stress and heart rates caused by unrestrained animals in a moving vehicle when compared to trips where pet owners utilized crates and other transport items.
Driving with an unrestrained pet can cause several different circumstances that contribute to distracted driving and an increased risk of an accident, and remaining aware of what they are may help you stay safer when you and your beloved pet travel in your car together.
1. Pets blocking your vision
When an unrestrained pet roams a vehicle, it may decide to jump into your lap or up onto the dashboard, which can momentarily disrupt your vision. Even a moment or two of obstruction can cause an accident, especially when traveling in stop-and-go traffic. The larger the animal, the greater the chance of a visual distraction.
2. Anxious or vocal pets
Not all pets enjoy rides in the car, and when you have an anxious or vocal pet, attempts to soothe them as you drive can cause you to take your eyes off the road. Anxious animals are also more likely to pace the seats, which may increase your own anxiety and distract you from the road as well.
3. Pets blocking gas or brake pedals
Smaller, unrestrained dogs in your vehicle can lodge themselves between your feet or block the gas or brake pedal. Becoming distracted while trying to move the animal can result in a serious crash.
Dog harnesses, pet seat belts and crates can keep your pet safe on the road. Remember to use devices that match your pet’s size and breed for additional safety.