Dog is man’s best friend, as the old saying goes, but a new poll shows that driving with their best friend may get many people into car accidents. Keep reading to learn why unrestrained dogs are being blamed with accidents and injuries. If you have suffered a serious injury in any type of accident in which another party was negligent, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 602-340-0030 for a free legal consultation.
The Basic Findings
The study, which was done by Volvo Car USA and the Harris Poll, found that dogs who were unrestrained in moving vehicles often led to dangerous driver behaviors, such as more distractions and increased stress in both dogs and drivers. Though many pet owners treat their pets as members of the family, fewer are willing to restrain them as they would restrain a child or other vulnerable members of the family.
More About the Study Results
The study looked at 15 drivers and their dogs for more than 30 hours on the road. It looked at how the unrestrained pet affected driving behavior compared to owners who had their dogs restrained through any method, including crates, carriers, and harnesses.
According to the study, when pets are allowed to be free in the car, unsafe driving was nearly double compared to when pets were restrained. They found that unrestrained dogs did dangerous things like climb onto the driver’s lap or hang their head out of the car window. The time drivers were distracted while driving was double that of those who had restrained pets. For example, when a dog jumped from seat to seat, drivers took their eyes from the road.
Interestingly, the study also found that both the driver and the dog experienced increased stress when not restrained. Drivers felt much calmer when their dog was safely buckled in. Dogs had lower heart rates when restrained as opposed to roaming free.
How to Stay Safe with Your Pet in the Car
If you are going to drive with your pet, there are a few tips that can keep you safer. First, do not drive with your pet on your lap or in the front seat. This could cause your pet to be thrown through the windshield in the event of an accident. Restrain your pet using pet restraints. Not doing so can cause them to fall and become injured, or jump out of the vehicle and be struck by traffic.
Do not let your dog lean out of your car window – especially at high speeds. Debris can enter their eyes and result in corneal injuries and even blindness. Do not leave your dog alone in your vehicle even if it is cool outside.