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Can pets increase your risk of a car accident?

by | Jun 29, 2023 | Personal Injury

For many people, pets are more than just animals; they are part of the family. As such, it is common to see drivers taking their furry friends along for a car ride, whether for a trip to the park, a visit to the vet or even long-distance travel. However, is it possible that having pets in the car leads to more car accidents?

Driving demands full attention and any form of distraction can have serious consequences. When pets become passengers, they introduce a new dynamic to the driving environment, which may potentially increase the risk of accidents.

Potential distractions

Pets, particularly dogs and cats, are unpredictable by nature. They may become scared, agitated or excited while in a moving vehicle, leading them to act out in ways that can distract the driver. For instance, a pet might:

  • Jump into the driver’s lap
  • Block the rear-view mirror
  • Become tangled in the driver’s feet near the pedals
  • Bite or nip their owner unexpectedly

Each of these scenarios can divert the driver’s attention from the road and may contribute to an increased likelihood of a car accident.

Safety measures

Securing pets in crash-tested crates or harnesses can not only protect the pet in case of an accident, but it can also reduce the risk of the pet becoming a distraction. Moreover, drivers should never let pets sit in their laps while driving, and they should ensure that pets cannot move freely around the vehicle.

Regular breaks on longer journeys can also help to manage a pet’s behavior in the car. Allowing pets to stretch, relieve themselves and burn off energy can make them more relaxed for the next leg of the journey.

Pets in the car can potentially increase the risk of car accidents, primarily by serving as a source of distraction for the driver. Before hitting the road with a pet, drivers should ensure they have taken all necessary precautions to safeguard both their own lives and those of their furry friends.