If you have a dog, odds are that you’ve driven with it in the car. One study found that 56 percent of those asked said they took their dogs in the vehicle at least once per month.
As common as it is, dogs can be a distraction, and they can absolutely cause car accidents. A full 29 percent of those in the study said that they were actively distracted by the animal while behind the wheel.
What’s more, twice that many — 65 percent — said they engaged with the dog in one way or another. Whether or not they thought it was a distraction and reported it as such, the risk is clearly quite high. For example:
— 52 percent said they would reach over and pet the dog, taking a hand off the wheel.
— While braking, 23 percent would reach out to restrain the dog, rather than using safety restraints.
— 17 percent would actually let the dog sit on their lap as they drove.
— 3 percent admitted to taking a picture of the dog in the car, requiring them to both let go of the wheel and look away from the road.
— 19 percent had the dog in the backseat but were forced to reach back and try to keep it from coming up to the front.
— A mere 16 percent used pet restraints in the car.
Still wondering if the distraction really raises accident risks? The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety claims that your odds of an accident double if you ever take your eyes off the road for merely two seconds.
If a driver who was distracted by his or her dog caused an accident and you were injured, be sure you know about any potential rights to compensation for lost wages, medical bills and more.
Source: Kurgo, “Dog Travel Statistics,” accessed May 19, 2017