Driving Safety Tips for Pets and Their Owners
August 13th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
It’s common for pet owners to transport their pets in cars. However, if a pet gets loose in your vehicle, it can cause a collision.
What Are the Dangers Associated with Driving with Pets in Vehicles?
Many dangers are present when you get behind the wheel with a pet in your car, regardless of whether you’re driving with cats, dogs, or other animals. These dangers may include:
1. Shifting a Driver’s Attention Away from the Road
If your pet gets agitated, makes noises, or constantly shifts during your drive, you can easily get distracted. Once you take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel, you risk a collision.
2. Restraining a Pet and Driving at the Same Time
You may believe your pet will remain in one seat throughout an entire drive. Yet, over the course of a trip, your pet may try to move from the backseat to the front seat, or vice versa. Your pet may also try to move from the passenger’s seat to your lap. In any of these scenarios, you may feel the urge to immediately restrain your pet. If you act on this urge, you’ll need to take one or both hands off the wheel, which can lead to a collision.
3. Feeding a Pet While Driving
Eating or drinking while driving can be problematic, particularly when traveling with a pet. If your pet wants your food or beverage, it may jump at you or make noises as it begs for your snack or drink. In these instances, it may cause you to divert your attention from the road, which can result in a collision.
Is It a Law to Restrain a Dog in a Car?
New Jersey and Rhode Island are the only states where pets are required to buckle up.
In New Jersey, you must secure a pet in a moving vehicle via a seat belt or in a carrier. Failure to comply with this mandate can result in a fine of up to $1,000.
For Rhode Island pet owners, their pets must be under the physical control of someone other than the driver or be restrained by a harness, seat belt, or crate. If Rhode Island pet owners do not comply with this requirement, they are subject to fines up to $200.
Some states have other laws in place that punish pet owners if driving with a pet creates safety concerns. These states are:
- Arizona: Authorities can charge pet owners driving with a pet in their lap with distracted driving. They can also penalize pet owners if a police officer determines that traveling with a pet creates an unsafe situation.
- Connecticut: Authorities can charge pet owners with distracted driving if they have a pet in their lap while behind the wheel.
- Hawaii: Pet owners cannot have a pet in their lap or anywhere near them if it interferes with their ability to drive a car safely.
- Iowa: If a police officer determines a pet traveling in a car obstructs the driver’s view, the driver could receive a fine.
- Maine: Pet owners who drive with their pet in their lap are in violation of Maine’s distracted-driving law.
- Massachusetts: Pet owners cannot have a pet on their lap while they drive, as it can interfere with their ability to operate their vehicle properly.
- South Carolina: Authorities can charge pet owners with negligence if they drive with a pet in their lap.
- Washington, DC: Engaging with a pet while driving a car can result in a moving violation.
- Wisconsin: Pet owners who drive with a pet in their lap may be considered “inattentive drivers” and can be penalized accordingly.
You should learn the laws relating to driving with a pet in your home state. You should also prioritize safe driving every time you travel with your pet.
Tips for Driving Safely with Pets
To drive safely with your pet, you should:
- Keep your pet in a well-ventilated carrier or crate
- Feed your pet at least a few hours before you depart
- Never let your pet keep its head outside the window while the car is moving
If a collision occurs while you are traveling with your pet, try to stay calm. Ensure that you and your pet are safe, and remember, you can get your car repaired following your accident.
Fix Auto offers auto body repair services performed by certified technicians, and we can fix your car’s bumper, windshield, and other exterior components after a collision. To learn more or to schedule a service appointment, please contact us online or call us today at 800.INFO.FIX.
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