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Keep people and pets safe in the car

Many Lousiana residents may enjoy taking their pet with them when they run errands. Sometimes pets can distract drivers, though, and people may not always consider what will happen if they are involved in a collision when their dog is in the car. It is important for people to take precautions to ensure both they and their pets are safe in a crash.

People may often perform unsafe behaviors when their dog is in the car. According to the American Automobile Association, one survey found that about 65 percent of people are regularly distracted by interactions with their dog. These interactions include feeding and petting dogs while driving. Additionally, people play with their pets and let them sit on their lap. All of these behaviors can easily take a driver’s attention off the road. However, the survey reported that only 29 percent of people realize their pet is a distraction. These distractions can be dangerous because drivers may not always see hazards on the road until it is too late. 

Other behaviors can endanger people and pets in a collision. Esurance says that although people may sometimes prefer to let their dog ride unrestrained, this can be hazardous. People and animals can both sustain injuries in a car accident and these may be more serious if pets are not protected by some form of restraint. If drivers get into a 30 mph collision, a dog that weighs 80 pounds might produce 2,400 pounds of force. In a 50 mph accident, an unrestrained dog weighing 10 pounds can create 500 pounds of force. This extra force can increase the severity of any injury people and their pets incur.

To protect both them and their pets, people should usually make sure their pet rides in a carrier or wears a seat belt. Additionally, drivers should typically keep the windows rolled up so dogs cannot put their heads out the window. This is because a dog may sometimes be seriously injured if his head is out the window when a collision occurs.

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