The picture above is alarming. This accident would have been tragic if the truck had overturned in the other direction, into traffic.
Thankfully, the only casualty of this crash was beer.
By now you must be wondering why we are reporting on this. Accidents like this happen all of the time, right? Yes, they do. But this one is different.
This accident was caused by a dog.
The driver of this truck was distracted by his dog, causing him to lose control of his vehicle. There is no word yet on what the dog was doing that was so distracting. What we do know is that the dog wasn’t restrained while in the truck.
According to a 2011 study, 23% of dog owners reported that they’ve had to use their arms to restrain their dog while applying the brakes. Nineteen percent of people have had to take their hands off of the wheel to keep a dog from climbing into the front seat. Another 17% let their dog ride in their laps.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that taking your eyes off of the road for a mere two seconds doubles your risk of getting into an accident.
Ines de Pablo, an emergency response expert told CNN:
“When that air bag deploys, the animal will be smashed between the air bag and driver, which won’t help the driver.”
Even if you don’t believe your dog is a distraction, the above quote is worrisome.
Another issue with an unrestrained dog is that it becomes a projectile during an accident. This is unsafe for both you and the pup.
Accidents also scare dogs – which should go without saying. Your dog may try to bite someone who approaches the car to offer help. They also might run away. The latter happened to a friend of mine. She found her dog three days later after an exhausting and incredibly emotional search.
There are various ways that you can reduce the risk to both you and your pup.
A travel carrier is the obvious choice. They are the most effective way to keep your pup from climbing on you during a car ride. They can also make anxious dogs feel more secure during travel.
If you don’t want to put your pup in a crate, you have a few options:
You can keep your dog in place with a doggy car seat.
A seat belt is another option.
Dog car barriers give your pup the freedom to roam, but not the freedom to help you drive.
However you choose to travel with your pup, remember to take safety into consideration. It only takes a moment for things to turn tragic.
You can download a pet car safety fact sheet here.