Yes, Dogs Are a Driving Distraction, Too

We talk a lot about driving distraction on KickingTires, and recently I defended eating and adjusting the car stereo as two habits that shouldn’t be considered on the same level as text messaging or applying makeup. AAA is now trumpeting a distraction that has always riled me: driving with a dog on your lap.
The AAA study actually addresses dogs riding anywhere in the car, but it mostly focuses on when they get near the driver. Two-thirds of dog owners surveyed said they routinely pet, play and feed their dogs while driving, the study says.
AAA says that even a 10-pound dog can become a projectile in a crash exerting 500 pounds of pressure.

Full disclosure: I’ve driven with a 60-pound dog in SUVs and wagons, and with the second-row seats down, she’d like to come up to the front and say hi but mostly looked out the rear windows. I’ve also driven with my dog in the front passenger seat on moves when the rear is full of cargo. But I think there’s something fundamentally different when a smaller dog is sitting on a driver’s lap. Not only can it distract you because you want to pet it, but it can get in the way of trying to turn the steering wheel or access turn-signal stalks. Today, my dog is always in the back of one of my wagons because the kids use safety seats.

You can secure your pets in a typical sedan’s backseat with harnesses, or you can use a divider in a wagon or SUV. Some vehicles, such as the Honda Element, have a dog-friendly package with a travel kennel in the rear cargo area, complete with a circulating fan and water bowl.  
By David Thomas | August 20, 2010 | Comments (3)
Tags: Safety


Dogs don't just distract the driver, they distract OTHER drivers on the road too. There were a few times when I was driving when I was suddenly "alarmed" or "distracted" by someone's dog with their head out the window, like they were about to lunge at me or something. It's just startling to see a dog with its head out like that out of nowhere. It actually bothers me quite a lot.

Well, it's just startling to see a dog with its head out like that out of nowhere.

Any distraction be it dog, children, food, cell phone or even trying to understand road signs are not good. How many feet per second are we covering at 30mph? 44ft more than twice the length on most cars. Small distraction high speed big problem. Thanks for helping bring this potential disaster to our attention .

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App