Dog Bite Liability: Dogs and Car Safety
Going for a car ride is typically an enjoyable activity for most dogs. Many people don’t think much of their pup jumping into the passenger seat and hanging their head out the window with the wind rushing in their face. The majority of the time, a simple car ride with your dog will be uneventful. But it’s important to understand that having your dog unrestrained in your vehicle can create a distraction. As we mentioned in our post “Training Your Dog to Ride in Cars”, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that just a mere two seconds of unfocused driving increases your risk of an accident.
In addition to jeopardizing your own safety, not taking certain precautions can put your dog at risk as well. With this in mind, here are some tips to make your drive with your dog problem-free.
Use some restraint. There are various items on the market nowadays to keep dogs of all sizes restrained in your vehicle. There are specially made seatbelt harnesses you can purchase, as well as pet carriers. Not only will these prevent your dog from exiting your vehicle during a stop, it will also protect them and yourself if you get in an accident.
Set child locks. Dogs love to stick their heads out the window. Many pet harnesses allow your dog enough room to still do so. However, it’s imperative that if you have electronic window controls, you set the child lock so that they don’t actually roll the window up on themselves while enjoying the fresh air. In addition, it’s a good idea to bring them inside the car if you’ll be doing freeway driving, since they could be injured by high enough winds forcing debris into their face.
Leave them in the back. Even with restraints, dogs can typically reach you, the driver, if they are in the front passenger seat. Having a dog in your lap or trying to stick their head out the driver’s window not only provides you with a distraction, but if you were to get into a collision your pooch could be injured by the steering wheel or air bag deployment.
These are just a few of the ways you can provide a safer car ride for your dog. It’s also important to remember that not all dogs like car rides and may get nervous or car sick, increasing the chances of them reacting out of fear and causing them to bite. This is why it’s very important to have Dog Bite Liability Insurance. F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc., now offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only, in all states except for South Carolina, Hawaii, and Alaska.