No matter how qualified Mr. Kibbles thinks he is to drive, having him on your lap while driving will only distract you.
Petting your dog or any kind of animal while driving means at least one hand is not on the wheel. However, 52% of dog owners have petted their dog while driving, which is another form of distracted driving. While there is no law in certain states as of print date that would fine owners caught with their dog on their lap while driving, other states might have laws or are in the process of trying to get laws in place to protect dogs and their owners.
Sure, Mr. Kibbles is just casually sitting on your lap looking out the window, but in the next second he could see a squirrel, which causes him to jump to all fours smacking you in the face with his tail. Now you are trying to contain your dog from jumping out the window while keeping a finger on the wheel steering. What is wrong with this picture?
You are jeopardizing not only your safety but the safety of your dog and those around you. If you get in a car accident and not only hurt others but Mr. Kibbles, could you live with the guilt knowing you could have done something to protect him?
Unrestrained pets are a distraction as they move around the car, and their barking can startle the driver. To ensure you and your pet’s safety, invest in either a crash-tested cage or a harness to attach the seatbelt to. This ensures that they are secure, safe, and in one place. However, you’ll have to practice with your dog to get them comfortable with the concept of staying in one place.
Restraints and cages also can help dogs who have weak stomachs and tend to get car sick. Feeling secure and less jostled can give them peace of mind, forgoing any mess for you to clean up.
Maybe your excuse for not using a harness is that your dog is mellow and never distracts you; however, what if you get into a car accident and your pet is not secured? That air bag is going to smash into the force of their body going forward. Humans break bones and endure bruising when air bags go off; think about what it would do to your furry friend. Working with them to get comfortable in the harness will take time, so short trips to teach them that sitting still is good behavior will get them comfortable and keep them safe.
The campaign “Focus to the Finish,” created by Pekin Insurance, is here to educate individuals about all the different distractions one might face while driving. We want you and those around you to stay safe on your drive, which means eliminating distractions.
While this may be difficult at first since many distractions have become part of individuals’ everyday routines, becoming aware of them will help you quickly eliminate them. With so many families having dogs, this problem is more common than one may think. Not only is your safety at risk but so is your dog’s and those around you. Don’t let excuses keep you from getting your dog a harness for the car. Get to your destination safely!