Driving Safely with Pets
Driving Safely with Pets
Summer means pedestrians, pets, bicycles and motorcycles are out in force, requiring drivers to be even more cautious. No matter where you're headed, the park close by or family vacation to the beach, it's important to think about everyone who'll be traveling with you, especially children and pets.
As a driver, your responsibility is to know the law and protect those in your vehicle. Infants and toddlers need special care and safety seats are required by law in all 50 states.
Some states even have laws that require your furry friends to be restrained. New Jersey, for example, requires pets to be in a restraint or a carrier in the car. The fine for this violation is anywhere from $250 to $1000. Check with your department of motor vehicles or veterinary office for information on pet restraint in your state.
According to Actress and The Pet Lifestyle Coach®, Megan Blake, "unrestrained pets in cars pose serious potential risks, including becoming a major distraction to drivers; and unrestrained pets can easily be seriously injured, killed or even lost after being thrown from a car."
"Dogs, like children, should never be allowed to ride with their heads out the windows," says Megan. "Flying debris, including bugs, could harm them, and their lungs or ears could be injured from high-speed wind."
Keep SUMMER FUN as a driver by following these tips:
- Start your trip with GPS and music set; phone stowed. Keep children and pets content by bringing along a favorite toy, treat, or blanket. Always drive 2N2® - 2 eyes on the road, 2 hands on the wheel.
- Understand the laws for passenger restraint. Both child and pet passengers require special attention. No passengers belong on a lap or in the bed of a pick-up truck.
- Make sure that the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) of your vehicle is in good condition before your trip begins. This will be especially important for those longer trips. Keep a spare charging cable and car charger in your car for your phone.
- Make it a point to pull over if a child or pet needs attention, or if you feel tired or drowsy. This way you keep your eyes on the road.
- Eating along the way may be necessary, but you should pull over for this, too. Pack snacks and drinks for everyone, including pets, for convenience.
- Remove loose objects from your vehicle, they can become projectiles in a crash, causing injury to people or pets. In the event of a crash, unsecured pets may become frightened and jump from open windows.
- Forbid paws and heads from being out the window. This applies to both 2-legged and 4-legged passengers. They could be injured by flying debris.
- Understand construction may be underway along your route. Plan ahead and find alternate routes and pet-friendly stops, helping to get you to your destination on schedule.
- Never leave children or pets in cars alone for any period of time. Temperatures can rise 19 degrees in just 10 minutes, putting them at risk.
Megan and Super Smiley's Top 5 'What to Pack' Travel Tips
"We pets love home and our people, and even though we love to go, we still want to feel safe and comfortable...just like home! Here's my Top 5 of What to Pack for your pet:
- Her blanket or a towel that she's slept on so it smells like home, and a T-shirt or sock you've worn so it smells like you. These will be good "security blankets" for her and will help keep her calm and feeling like home.
- A collapsible water bowl. These are so convenient and can be folded into a pocket or purse for easy carrying.
- Her own food. Bring enough for the whole trip so you're not caught in a situation where you have to switch to a different brand mid-trip, which might upset her stomach...and the trip.
- Her medicines and medical shot records.
- Any accessories we may need, like life jackets, sweaters, protective boots, pet sunscreen, a toy to keep her occupied while waiting around, a towel for sitting on a boat deck...Think about your trip. If you need something extra, we may need it too!"
For more on Megan and Super Smiley, visit www.MeganBlakeOfficial.com.