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Is it safe to drive with your dog?

Being able to take your loyal companion with you nearly everywhere you go is one of the joys of having a dog. While this makes for fun car rides and fond memories, it can also carry risks for you, your canine and others.

North Carolina is in the process of making it illegal to drive with a dog (or other live animal) on your lap. While this is a start, it is not enough to keep you and your furry friend safe. Learn why it can be dangerous and what precautions you can take.

The dangers of driving with unrestrained pets

While the law is concerned with the distraction of having your dog in the car while you are driving, it is not the only reason why it can be a bad idea. In an accident, your dog can become a harmful projectile, causing injury to you, other passengers, other motorists and your four-legged family member. Even small dogs can generate high amounts of force at moderate speeds.

Unrestrained pets are also at risk of jumping or falling out of moving vehicles, outside objects could strike them and sudden braking to avoid danger can cause forceful injuries. Letting your dog sit in the front seat can be fatal if the airbag deploys.

How to prevent accident and injury

The best thing you can do when your dog must accompany you on a ride is to use a pet seat belt or carrier inside your vehicle in the backseat. Restraining your dog can eliminate distractions and reduce the chances of accident and injury.

You cannot control how other people drive, but you can control how you choose to protect your beloved pet. Do your canine a favor and either leave the dog at home or take all preventive measures to reduce the risk of severe or fatal bodily harm for both of you in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

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