blog home Car Accidents Safety Tips for Driving With Your Dog

Safety Tips for Driving With Your Dog

By Butler Prather LLP on December 10, 2019

Dogs are arguably the most popular pet in America. With approximately 90 million dogs in US households, it should come as no surprise that many of these dogs travel with their people on a regular basis. Sometimes, a dog I sin the car for a short trip. Other times, they accompany their owners on long road trips. Regardless of how often or how far your dog travels with you in a car, you need to be safe.

Dogs can present safety problems in the vehicle but traveling with Fido can be done in a way that keeps everyone on the roadway safe and secure. According to AAA, 84% of pet owners say they have brought their pets along with them on a car ride. However, only 16% of those surveyed say they use pet restraints.

Common safety issues with dogs in a vehicle

Most people know that distracted driving is a problem, and this is not just caused by call phones. Dogs can present major distractions on the roadway. The most common distractions include:

  • Owners petting their dogs while driving
  • Allowing a dog to sit on your lap while driving
  • Giving treats or water to a dog while driving
  • Playing with the dog while driving

Any of these distractions can lead to a driver taking their eyes off the roadway. Distracted driving can, and often does, lead to serious car accidents.

An accident is not only dangerous for you and others on the roadway. An unrestrained pet involved in an accident is likely to suffer from serious injuries or death. A deployed airbag can also cause serious injuries to a dog.

Some safety tips for traveling with dogs

You can follow these tips to ensure safe traveling with your dog:

  • Always properly restrain dogs inside the vehicle. There are many devices available, including pet crates, dog booster seats, harnesses for seats, and dog barriers available. Any of these will keep your dog in place and make them less of a distraction for the driver.
  • Take your dog on shorter trips to acclimate them to driving in a vehicle. Many dogs can become anxious in the car. If a dog panics, they could become a serious distraction for the driver.
  • Do not allow dogs to stick their heads or bodies out of the window. Most dogs love to do this, and you probably see this on commercials and shows all the time. However, debris can cause serious injuries to your dog. In the event of an accident, this could lead to major injuries or death for your friend.
  • You should not allow a dog to be in the bed of a moving pickup truck. While this is common, a dog can be ejected in a car accident.
  • Never lead dogs unattended in a vehicle. Even when the windows are cracked, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach temperatures high enough to cause death for a dog.
  • Do not use a leash inside the vehicle as a restraint. Dogs could strangle themselves when left unattended or in a collision.

Be safe and enjoy the ride

You can safely bring your dog with you on car trips. By following the safety tips above and using proper restraints, you reduce major risks on the roadway. If your pet is injured or killed in a car accident that was caused by another driver, the pet’s injury could be viewed as property damage in an insurance claim. You may be able to secure compensation to help with your dog’s vet expenses.

Posted in: Car Accidents

I was in a complex premises liability case involving a multinational corporations. Mr. Butler & his associates were always three steps ahead of these defendants. When they say they are "exceptional trial lawyers," this is not just a slogan but it is a way of life.”
- Zack Hendon