APRIL 23, 2014
Five vital reasons for securing your pet on car rides
Americans have been buckling up for years, and for good reason. The proper use of lap and shoulder belts has been shown to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat car occupants by 45 percent, while reducing their risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. Further research has shown that unbelted rear seat passengers increase the death rate of front seat passengers by up to 5 times.
With these facts in mind, we take care to make sure that all of our family members are safe and secure during car travel. Or . . . do we?
While we strap our kids and ourselves in snugly, we may be forgetting our four-legged family members. Many people believe that securing their pets in the car is unnecessary for short trips around town, and don't think twice about traveling with unsecured pets to the bank, the pet store or the dog park. However, these short and sweet trips are when most accidents occur.
With pet travel on the rise, more and more dogs and cats are at risk of suffering severe injuries during car trips. To help bring awareness to this problem, we've come up with five important reasons for securing your pet in the car.
1. Driver Distraction
Even the most well-behaved pet travelers can get overly excited or frightened while riding in a car. Frightened or excited pets may jump into the front seat, lunge out of windows, cry or bark incessantly, or attempt to climb on the driver. Multiple pet travelers may choose an inopportune moment for a fight or a rambunctious play session. Any one of these scenarios can cause the driver to become distracted, which can dramatically increase the chances of an accident.
2. Injury During a Car Ride
Even in situations where an accident does not occur, pets who are allowed to roam free in the car can become injured in a variety of ways. If the car swerves or stops suddenly, they may tumble off seats, be thrown across the car, or be hit by unsecured objects. A curious or comfort-seeking cat may crawl into a tight space and get stuck. Dogs who stick their heads or paws out the window risk injury from passing cars, or may be tempted to try and jump out if something outside the car piques their interest.
3. Injury During a Crash
During a crash, unsecured pets can be thrown against windshields or out of windows, and those riding on their parents' laps can be seriously injured by deployed airbags.
4. Potential Injury to Other Passengers
Even at just 30 miles per hour, the impact from a car crash can turn a 60-pound dog into dangerous projectile wielding 2700 pounds of force, which could have devastating consequences for both the pet and anyone else rising in the car.
5. Loss or Injury After an Accident
While most safety concerns revolve around what happens during a car crash, few people consider the dangers posed in the aftermath of an accident. Unsecured pets that are frightened and disoriented may run out into traffic, run away entirely, or become aggressive with police or paramedics who are trying to help with a rescue.
Current pet auto safety devices are comfortable, affordable, and easy to use. There are plenty of options available. Pet travel crates and kennels are a traditional option that keep pets calm and secure. Vehicle pet barriers restrict pets to either the cargo area or back seat. And pet safety belts secure pets firmly to the seat, where they can still look out the window to their hearts' content.
There are numerous options available for securing your pet during car travel. Whichever product you choose, know that you're investing wisely in your pet's safety and well-being.
TripsWithPets.com is the #1 online resource for pet travel.