Most of us at one time or another have taken our furry little friend for a ride in the car. I personally have my little fuzz ball with me whenever I can. She loves to go with us and is a great little traveler.

She is only allowed to ride in the back seat or in the passenger’s lap when the vehicle is in motion. Unfortunately, this can also be a risk, and certain precautions need to be taken to protect everyone in the vehicle.

When traveling with a pet in any vehicle there are several risks. In a collision traveling at 30 mph, a 10-pound dog will have the force of a 300-pound projectile.

Pets have been injured or even caused injuries in many accidents. In an accident often times a pets will be thrown from or escape the vehicle, running into traffic and getting hurt or causing another accident.

Should an airbag be deployed while your pet is in your lap, not only will it be deadly for your pet, but it could increase the drivers injuries.

Another very important consideration when driving with a pet in your lap or vehicle is how distracted you become. If your pet is jumping from the front to back seats, from one window to another, in your lap, out of your lap and so on, are you truly paying attention to your driving?

There is the potential for them to block your view, get caught up in the steering wheel or even accidentally apply pressure to your foot, speeding up your vehicle and thus causing an accident.

Several states have laws regarding pets in the driver’s lap. States like Hawaii, Arizona, Maine, Connecticut and New Jersey have such laws in place.

Keep in mind, however, that should your pet cause you to cross a center line or make you display inattentive driving, you could be pulled over. People have gotten speeding tickets due to pets causing the driver to not pay attention to their speed. Even accidents have been caused due to a pet in the vehicle.

A distracted driver with a pet in the vehicle resulting in an accident can be held responsible for personal injury and property damages.

The best solution is to have your pet travel in the back seat and in a kennel; or using a pet restraint would be ideal. When traveling with your pet, give them something to keep them entertained or have their favorite bed or blanket along.

If traveling out of state, check for laws regarding pets. Most states will require that you have your pets veterinary records with, should they need to checked.

Have safe travels with your little sidekick.

“Keep pressing forward.”

This twice-monthly column is sponsored by Brad Spry State Farm Insurance in Walker and Walker Ford.

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