Tak­ing Fido along for the ride in a safer way

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - News -

Sev­enty-eight mil­lion dogs re­side in more than 46 mil­lion U.S. house­holds, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Pet Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion, and an in­creas­ing num­ber of these furry com­pan­ions ac­com­pany their fam­i­lies on road trips, day trips and lo­cal er­rands.

In a ve­hi­cle, this can mean added dis­trac­tions for the driver and added dan­gers for all pas­sen­gers — in­clud­ing pets. A re­cent sur­vey con­ducted by AAA and Kurgo, a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of pet travel prod­ucts, asked dog own­ers how of­ten they drive with their dog and ex­am­ined their habits be­hind the wheel.

The sur­vey re­sults in­di­cated that driv­ers not only love to bring Fido in the car, but of­ten en­gage in risky be­hav­iors when man’s best friend is along for the ride.

Mo­torists fre­quently bring dogs along, en­gag­ing in dis­tract­ing be­hav­iors

Nearly six in 10 (56 per­cent) re­spon­dents have driven with their dog at least once a month in the past year — and many par­tic­i­pate in be­hav­iors that take their at­ten­tion away from the road, with the most com­mon ac­tiv­ity be­ing pet­ting their dog (52 per­cent).

Nearly one-quar­ter (23 per­cent) have used their hands or arms to hold their dog in place while ap­ply­ing brakes, and 19 per­cent have used their hands or arms to keep their dog from climb­ing into the front seat — cre­at­ing a sit­u­a­tion where they re­move at least one hand from the steer­ing wheel.

Other dis­tract­ing be­hav­iors driv­ers ad­mit­ted to in­clude reach­ing into the back seat to in­ter­act with their dog (18 per­cent), al­low­ing their dog to sit in their lap or hold­ing their dog (17 per­cent), giv­ing food or treats (13 per­cent) and 3 per­cent have taken a photo of their dog while driv­ing. These be­hav­iors can dis­tract the driver and in­crease the risk of a crash. The AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety found that look­ing away from the road for only two sec­onds dou­bles your risk of be­ing in a crash.

Driv­ers ad­mit dan­gers of un­re­strained pets, but most not us­ing a pet re­straint

Eighty-three per­cent of re­spon­dents ac­knowl­edge that an un­re­strained dog in a mov­ing car can be dan­ger­ous, but only 16 per­cent cur­rently use a pet re­straint. How­ever, use of a re­straint is three times greater among driv­ers who have heard of sit­u­a­tions where un­re­strained dogs were in­jured or caused in­jury to other pas­sen­gers in a car crash (32 per­cent) com- pared to re­spon­dents who were not aware of such a sit­u­a­tion and still use a re­straint (9 per­cent).

Us­ing a pet re­straint, such as those avail­able from Kurgo, can aid in lim­it­ing dis­trac­tions and help pro­tect pets and pas­sen­gers.

“Driv­ers should use a pet re­straint sys­tem for your dog ev­ery time their pet is in the ve­hi­cle,” said Jen­nifer Hueb­ner-David­son, man­ager of AAA Na­tional, Traf­fic Safety Pro­grams. “A re­straint like those of­fered by Kurgo will not only limit dis­trac­tions, but also pro­tect you, your pet and other pas­sen­gers in the event of a crash or sud­den stop.”

Calm dogs, lack of aware­ness top rea­sons for not us­ing a pet re­straint

More than two in five (42 per­cent) re­spon­dents said they do not use a pet re­straint be­cause their dog is calm, and they do not think he/she needs a re­straint. How­ever, a calm dog will be thrown with the same amount of force as an ac­tive dog in the event of a crash or sud­den stop — a danger for all pas­sen­gers as well as the pet.

“An un­re­strained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will ex­ert roughly 300 pounds of pres­sure, while an un­re­strained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will ex­ert ap­prox­i­mately 2,400 pounds of pres­sure. Imag­ine the dev­as­ta­tion that can cause to your pet and any­one in its path,” said Hueb­ner-David­son.

Other rea­sons cited for not us­ing a re­straint in­clude: never con­sid­ered it (39 per­cent); just take dog on short trips (29 per­cent); and 12 per­cent want their dog to be able to put its head out the win­dow.

Eigh­teen per­cent of re­spon­dents who drive with a dog in the ve­hi­cle also have chil­dren un­der the age of 13 who ride with them. Seven in 10 of these mo­torists have driven with a child and an un­re­strained dog at the same time.

A va­ri­ety of rea­son­ably-priced prod­ucts are avail­able to keep pets safe and help dog own­ers re­duce po­ten­tial dis­trac­tions caused by pets while driv­ing. There have been many re­cent in­no­va­tions in this mar­ket from Kurgo and others to make these prod­ucts more com­fort­able for the dog and con­ve­nient for the owner. AAA rec­om­mends own­ers use a re­straint sys­tem any­time they are driv­ing with their pet — even short trips close to home.

Pet own­ers who want to take their pet on a longer trip can find all of the in­for­ma­tion they need to make their va­ca­tion eas­ier and safer in Trav­el­ing with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook in­clud­ing pet-friendly AAA Ap­proved prop­erty list­ings and ad­vice on trans­port­ing pets.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.