It’s fun to have your furry friend ride shotgun, but it’s also dangerous for the animal…
The hazards of using a cell phone whilst behind the wheel are well known, but did you know that unsecured pets also pose a significant risk for accidents caused by driver distraction?
A new survey, commissioned by Ford Motor Company, found that allowing your dog to roam around freely in the cabin while you’re driving not only compromises your safety, that of your pet, and any other passengers in your vehicle, but also the safety of all other road users, including pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles.
The survey, conducted amongst 5,000 dog owners in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, showed that one in three drivers do not always secure their pet safely when travelling.* The reasons given varied, from 32 per cent saying it was because the animal doesn’t like it, to 31 per cent believing there is no need when undertaking short journeys, and 14 per cent saying they don’t have space in their vehicle for a dog crate.
Yet some of these very same owners admitted to being involved in accidents after being distracted by their unrestrained pet which had knocked into and turned on indicators, or obscured the view of the road ahead, or even bitten occupants. It is further estimated that if a vehicle crashes at a speed of just 40km/h, an unrestrained dog can develop projection forces that are 40 times its weight, increasing the likelihood of injury, or death.**
The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) provides the following tips to ensure both you and your four-legged companion journey more safely.
Across Ford’s range of SUVs – the New Kuga, New EcoSport, and Everest – there is ample headroom so you and your pets don’t feel cramped, and plenty of storage space so you can pack water bowls, toys, blankets, and anything else your animals might need.
“Investing in a vehicle with generous cabin space and extra safety features also provides great peace of mind for drivers who travel regularly with their pets,” says Derek Kirkby, Training Director at Driving Skills for Life, a free and comprehensive programme created by Ford to promote a safe and efficient driving culture. “As a dog owner myself, I always make sure that Falkor is securely strapped into the recommended harness and on the back seat. When travelling by car on holiday, I plan my route to include more stops, and ones that are pet-friendly for him.”