dog outside of window in the car

For many of us, our dogs and other pets are like members of the family. It is often second nature to have them hop in the car with us, wherever our destination may be, and they are usually thrilled to come along for the ride. However, what many people fail to realize is that letting a dog freely move about the passenger areas of the vehicle causes your risks of an accident to rise significantly. You, and your pet, could be seriously injured if they are not properly secured or causing a distraction.

To keep you and your pet safe, it’s strongly advised that you always restrain dogs using a harness and seat belt while driving. Check out the harnesses at your local pet store. Pet crates are also sufficient, but keep in mind that depending on its sturdiness and size, your dog could still be injured during a crash.

You may feel hesitant to restrain your pet while driving, but keeping your pet safely secured is the best decision for them, the driver and others on the road. To minimize the risk of a dangerous automobile accident or injury, be sure to:

  • Secure pets using a harness and seat belt whenever driving;
  • Try a pet barrier or crate secured in the back if seat belts don’t work; and
  • Never let your dog ride unrestrained in the bed of a truck.

There are many safety hazards associated with allowing pets to ride unrestrained in a moving vehicle. Nearly one-third (of 1,000) of dog-owning drivers admit to having been distracted by their dogs. Twenty-one percent allowed their dogs to sit in their lap, and five percent report playing with their pets as they drove. So please keep the following in mind the next time you and your canine take a ride.

  1. An unrestrained dog can physically interfere with your ability to drive a car. You should never let your dog move freely through the passenger areas of your vehicle or sit in your lap as they can get in the way of safe operation and cause an accident.
  2. An unrestrained dog can also mentally distract the driver if they’re busy dealing with the dog’s behavior, or trying to pet and interact with them.
  3. An unrestrained dog may fall or jump out of an open window or back of a truck.
  4. In the event of an accident, an unrestrained dog could become a dangerous projectile if your car stops abruptly or is hit by another car.
  5. An unrestrained dog can also interfere with the efforts of rescue workers in an emergency. In their fear, they could easily run into the road and cause another accident, or hurt rescue personnel during a critical time.

As long as your pet is safe, comfortable and secure, there is no reason they can’t join you for a ride. But if you or someone you love has been hurt due to a driver who was negligent or distracted while driving with an unsecured pet, you should contact a personal injury attorney from Hupy and Abraham right away. Call 800-800-5678 to schedule a consultation, or start a live chat with us anytime at

Jill Erin Wellskopf
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Director of Marketing, Hupy and Abraham