When you put children in the car, you make sure that they are in a car- or booster-seats that are appropriate for their age and height so that they are properly secured. You don’t put them in the front seat, where an airbag could make for a potential hazard. And you fasten the seat belts and make sure they are tightened to accommodate for small frames. You do all this for the safety of your children, and yet, when it comes to your pets, you may let them roam loose in your car, without a second thought for what might happen if an accident occurred. While your dog is content to hang his head out the window and your cat will gladly hide under your seat and refuse to come out, the potential dangers of this situation should not be overlooked. If you value the lives of your pets, you should make every effort to ensure that they are secured when you put them in the car.
The first thing to consider is a crate or carrying cage. Nobody likes putting animals in cages (and they’ll like it even less), but you need to keep them contained while they’re in your vehicle. Not only could your pets become injured in the car if they should fall off the seat when you brake, accelerate, or turn; or be hurt or thrown from the vehicle in an accident; they can also distract you from the task at hand. It is all too easy for an animal to pull your focus when it should be on the road in front of you. But they’re not to blame if you get in an accident – you are. You’re the one who is responsible for the welfare of your pets and you make the decisions about the manner in which you transport them. So be smart and protect everyone in the car by putting pets in cages.
But where should you put the cage? This depends on the type of car you drive, but ideally, animals should always be put in the back seat, where they will have the best prospect of safety (like a child). If possible, you should put a seatbelt around the cage to keep it from sliding while you drive, or falling in the event of an accident. Some carriers even include guides for you to run the straps through. You don’t want to put your pet in the front seat, where an airbag could be problematic. And you should NEVER place a pet in the trunk, for pretty obvious reasons. If you have large pets and their cages won’t fit in the back seat, you should put them in the back area of an SUV and attempt to secure the cages so that they don’t slide. You may also choose to place them in the bed of a truck, although this will not be terribly safe in an accident situation.
Your furry friends depend on you to look out for their safety, and while you have probably installed gates, latches, and other safety measures in your home to protect them, you might not have made the same efforts when it comes to their transportation. But it is imperative to consider vehicle safety for your pets just like you would for anyone in your automobile. Since your animals can’t make these decisions for themselves, it’s up to you to take the proper steps to ensure that they remain healthy and happy, no matter where they may travel.
Leah Gallin writes for Kanetix, where you can shop around for car insurance quotes and find a great deal.