How to Stay Safe When Driving with Pets
Pets are popular passengers. Appointments with veterinarians and trips to the park are common reasons that people choose to drive with their pets in the vehicle. Many drivers prefer having their pets in the car for company or because they know that their pet likes the adventure of a car ride. Whether transporting your pet because of necessity or because of pleasure, it is important to make sure that you and your furry friend are safe. Keep the following tips in mind when driving with an animal.
How To Proceed
Consider your pet’s personality and behavior. Before allowing your pet to ride in your vehicle for the first time, carefully consider how it will likely react to being in an enclosed and moving automobile. Most people drive with dogs because they most easily adapt to riding in a vehicle. Other pets such as cats, guinea pigs, exotic birds, and small monkeys are less common passenger pets. If you are concerned that your pet’s behavior or excessive noise will distract you while you are operating the vehicle, do not drive with it.
It is never a good idea to allow your pet to move around the car while you are driving. Drivers should never allow a pet to ride in their lap as they drive. Animals can be unpredictable and cause dangerous distractions.
Assuming that you are driving with a dog, the most popular passenger pet, you will need to create an area inside your vehicle in which he can safely ride. There are many types of pet restraints for cars available today. If you do not want to purchase a pet restrain system, you can create an area in the back seat of your car or cargo area of your SUV. Spread a blanket or old towel across the seat or floorboard to protect your car’s interior.
Some drivers find that it is necessary to restrain their pet with a leash and collar while riding in a vehicle. If this is the case, make sure that your pet will not become entangled while you are driving. Many drivers purchase a special gate that prevents their pet from moving into the front of the vehicle.
To encourage your pet to stay in their designated area of the car, provide a bone, toy, or treats to occupy them.
Many pets, especially dogs, prefer to look out of the windows of the vehicle while riding. Make sure that your pet has enough range of motion to see where they are going. This often also prevents pets from getting motion sickness.
In case your pet has an accident in your vehicle, bring plastic bags, wet wipes, and paper towels when driving with an animal.
If taking your pet on a long distance drive, make several stops. Allow your pet to stretch his legs, use the restroom, and drink fresh water approximately every two hours.
Use extreme caution when leaving your pet in your vehicle. Only leave your pet unattended for very short periods of time. Make sure to ventilate your vehicle by leaving the windows cracked. Do not leave your pet inside your vehicle in extreme heat or cold, even for very short increments of time.
Many drivers find that their pets love riding in their cars. A pet can become a welcome passenger after it gets accustomed to riding in a vehicle. Remember to use extreme caution when driving with an animal and take measures to prevent it from distracting your attention from the road.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Driving-Tests.org. He has been writing for beginner US drivers for several years.
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