Saunders Law Group

3 Tips for driving with pets

Some animals absolutely love the car, while others need a little comfort to make it through the ride. In any case, it’s important to ensure your animal won’t impact your ability to drive safely while he or she is along for a drive.

Here are a few tips that will make driving safer for you and your pet.

1. Use a restraint

While there is no law against drivers carrying animals on their lap or in the flat bed of a truck in Florida, these behaviors risk the safety of the animal, the driver and others on the road. To protect your animal and your vehicle, it’s best to use some sort of restraint in the car.

Car seat covers can prevent animals from falling down between the seats while the car is in motion, while front seat barriers can keep the animal from climbing or jumping over the front seats.

Otherwise, pet owners also have the option to keep their animal in a closed kennel/carrier or in the lap of another passenger.

2. Test your distances

If you are purchasing a new pet or haven’t brought your pet along for car rides before, it’s best not to take a road trip off the bat, if it can be avoided. Try traveling only short distances in the beginning.

As both you and your pet get used to riding together, both of your nerves will calm. This will make it easier for you to focus on driving and for your animal to keep from getting over-excited, nervous or even sick during car rides.

3. Watch out for hot weather

In Florida, some days can become sweltering. If your animal is along for a car ride, it’s okay to stop and grab a water from the gas station. But, don’t leave your pet in a car while you sit down for a meal.

According to Florida law, civilians may avoid civil liability for damages to your car if they are necessary in order to remove a domestic animal from a dangerous situation — that includes the risk of the animal overheating.

In any case, you’ll likely need to take a trip to the animal hospital if your animal does overheat. Rushing or driving while in a panic can easily result in an accident on the road.

The results of pet/car accidents

It’s well known that many dogs love the breeze in their face out the car window and taking them to the dog park can also be a great social and physical exercise. But, is it worth the risk?

Studies have found that unrestrained dogs and cats are likely to be harmed or thrown from a vehicle in even minor accident, such as a fender benders.

If you are involved in an accident with your pet, you may be able to seek damages to cover the cost of injuries to your pet. However, these cases can be changeling with the help of an attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on the action you can take after a crash.

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