Travel by car and pet adoptions have soared during the pandemic. As a result, more people are bringing pets along with them on their road trips, however, when dogs are free in the car, they are at risk for an injury.
Although most car crashes are accidents, the person who caused them is responsible for injuries caused by the accident. When a dog distracts the driver or causes them to crash, the driver could be legally liable.
Safe Driving And Traveling With Dogs
While road trips can be more enjoyable when you are traveling with dogs, they can also be slightly more dangerous to ride with. Keeping the dog properly seated and out of the driver’s way is crucial for safety on the road. Fortunately, there are some tools available to achieve this and enjoy the dog’s company.
Dog harnesses are available to secure the dog and the safest place for them and the driver is in the backseat. Seat belts can be run through a loop in the back of a chest-fitting harness or under the harness itself. The best practice is to review the instructions to ensure there are no warnings against using the pet harness with a seatbelt before using, and for proper installation.
This solution is great for medium and large-size dogs who tend to be busy in the car. Securing them with a harness ensures they stay seated throughout the trip.
A similar option to the harness is a tether, also referred to as a pet seat belt. The tether is attached to the dog’s collar or harness and connects to the vehicle by clipping into the seat belt buckle or other anchors available in the car. This method also prevents the dog from moving around while on the road.
Crates And Carriers
For those dogs who are anxious or need a little more restraint, crates and carriers offer a terrific solution. Placing a dog in a crate completely restricts their access to the rest of the car. However, it is essential to pick the right crate or carrier and to secure it properly.
Larger dogs should be secured in a sturdier crate kept in the cargo area in larger vehicles like trucks or SUVs. Smaller dogs in portable carriers are more difficult to secure and can be placed in the second row, but should be held in place by seat belts.
Drivers can also utilize the equipment provided with the car to secure their dogs. Keeping the dog behind the last row of an SUV is an excellent way to secure the dog. Additionally, a driver could use a cargo divider to section off the trunk from the rest of the car to keep the dog contained during a road trip.
Failing To Secure The Dog
“Drivers have a duty to others to handle their vehicles safely and comply with the rules of the road. Unfortunately, when the owner of a pet fails to properly secure their dog and they cause a car accident, the owner may be legally liable. “says Felix Gonzalez of the Felix Gonzalez Law Firm, P.C. This includes ensuring nothing, including pets, in the car impacts their ability to drive the vehicle safely.
When traveling with dogs, a loose dog can distract the driver, block the driver’s vision, or jump onto the owner and cause them to swerve or drive erratically. When a loose dog causes an accident, the dog’s owner is responsible for injuries suffered in the accident.
Enjoying A Dog’s Company On The Road
Dog’s make terrific travel companions and could make a road trip more enjoyable. As the driver be to ensure the safety of your pet, yourself, and others, by keeping the dog under control. Several options exist to safely restrain the dog to a safe space in the car, so take precautions and help everyone on the road reach their destination safely.