Dogs a Distraction, AAA Says

It’s a common sight. Fido’s head hanging out of the window, or pacing the back seat of your car.  However, a new study by AAA indicates that your pup may be as big a danger as many other distractions like texting while driving.

It’s called DWA (driving with animals). It only takes looking away for two seconds to double your risk of being in a crash and pets are the third-worst distraction. The study also  found that 80 percent of drivers admit to bringing their pets along for car rides, but less than a quarter keep them restrained.

It’s not only dangerous for the driver, but your pet as well. Think about it, an 80 pound dog thrown through the air at 30 miles per hour exerts 2,400 pounds of force. Not good.

So, if you must drive with your dog, here are a few tips from Keep these in mind, especially if you are driving back and forth from the shore this Labor Day.

— Never allow your cat to roam freely. They like to sit on your lap or repose on the dashboard — making them as distracting as cell phones. Always transport felines in a travel crate designed specifically for cats.

— Use a pet-designed harness or seat belt to tether your dog. If not, a sudden stop could send it hurtling forward, placing itself and other passengers in danger. Plus, a harness will prevent your dog from distracting driving-attention with licks to the ear, or, depending on size, curling around your feet near the brake and gas pedals.

— Never leave your pet in a parked car during the summer.

— Don’t let your dog hang its head out a side window. Although amusing, it becomes a driver distraction, and depending on which window, a hindrance to seeing the traffic around you. Plus, it’s not safe for the dog.

— Never attach a restraining device to your pet’s collar while inside a vehicle.