Road Trip Safety When Traveling With Pets

Be aware when you take road trips with your pets. A new study from Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll revealed that allowing pets to roam unrestrained while driving led to significantly more unsafe driving behaviors, distraction and increased stress on both drivers and their four-legged friends.

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Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lealane/2019/08/26/on-national-dog-day-new-study-on-road-trip-safety-when-traveling-with-pets/#273c1ea345c2

While pets are now ingrained as essential members of the family, many pet owners aren’t keeping their safety in mind when driving with them.  Cars such as Volvo are developing safety accessories for pets that directly tie into the safety system of the car, including a Dog Harness, Load Compartment Divider, Dog Gate and Protective Steel Grille.

Dr Elisa Mazzaferro, veterinarian and an expert in emergency and critical care of animals said “While pets roaming around the car can be cute and convenient, it poses serious risk for both drivers and their pets, both in terms of causing distractions and increasing the chances of serious injury in the event of an accident, unfortunately, in my field, we see the potential devastating consequences regularly, many of which can avoided by simply ensuring our animals are safely secured.”

Her tips:

1.    Don’t drive with your pet in the front seat. In the event of a collision, a dog/cat can be thrown from the seat into the windshield, even if restrained. Unless the passenger side airbag is disengaged, the airbag deployment can be dangerous to a small pet.

2.    Never drive with your pet on your lap. It is not only a serious distraction to driving, but the pet can get caught under the steering wheel and cause an accident or can be projected forward in the event of a collision. 

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3.    Never drive with your pet unrestrained. In addition to being a distraction, an abrupt stop can cause the pet to fall quickly and cause soft tissue injury or worse. In the event of an accident, pets can jump from the vehicle and go into moving traffic and become hit by other vehicles or get lost in an unfamiliar area

4.    Never allow your pet to lean out of a car window. Debris can be forced into their eyes and cause abrasions or punctures to the cornea/eye, which could result in blindness.

5.    Never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle. Depending on the breed, level of anxiety, and ambient temperature, some people may be tempted to keep their pet in the car while running a short errand. Even in cooler months, never leave your dog unattended in your vehicle, no matter how short a period of time, to avoid extreme temperatures and hyperthermia/heat stroke. 

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