Why a dog in the car makes drivers more careful

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A recent study in the UK has shown travelling with a dog in the car makes drivers more likely to drive with greater care. It even reduces stress behind the wheel.

The study revealed that our four-legged friends help their owners to drive more safely, with over half (54 per cent) of dog-owning motorists admitting that they drive more carefully with their furry companions in the car with them.

The influence of having a pet pooch onboard may be even more pronounced among younger drivers. Recognised as among the most at-risk age group on UK roads, over two thirds (69 per cent) of motorists aged 18–24 said they drive more carefully with their dog in the car.

Older drivers are less concerned. Among the over-55s, 42 per cent said travelling with their dogs makes them drive in a more cautious manner.

Don’t let Fido sit on your lap, especially if you’re driving
As well as driving more cautiously, the presence of a dog in the car also appears to benefit mental health by reducing drivers’ stress levels. This could even help ease road rage for some motorists as over a third of drivers (35 per cent) said that they feel calmer at the wheel if their dog is travelling in the car with them.

Despite dogs being unlikely heroes in helping people drive more carefully, some motorists are still unaware of the laws around travelling with dogs in the car.

Over a third of dog-owning drivers were unsure whether there were any rules at all, or that penalties can be issued by police for driving without due care and attention.

A fifth of motorists interviewed admitted that they do not restrain their dogs in the car at all while driving.

Motorists still need to make sure they’re keeping their dogs safe while travelling too, and finding comfortable and secure in-car pet accessories to properly restrain pets is as important as using your own seatbelt.

Learn more about Australian rules regarding dogs and pets in cars.

This article was originally published as A dog in the car makes drivers more careful. Republished here with kind permission of the author.

Do you drive with your dog in the car? Do you think it makes you drive more conscientiously?

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Written by wordsmith


Total Comments: 6
  1. 0

    The info seems a bit vague. My understanding from the last time I researched the law (looked up the relevant Acts) is that in all states it is illegal for the driver to have an animal on their lap. It is only illegal in NSW to have an unrestrained animal anywhere else in the car.

    • 0

      Hi Koj. The laws vary from state to state, but all agree that it’s illegal to drive with a dog in your lap (not to mention really dangerous for the dog). Follow the link in the article to get a more complete overview of the different rules. And regardless of the law, it’s best to consider the wellbeing of the animal and ensure it’s safely restrained at all times.

    • 0

      errr….I followed the link in the article, which I described as a bit vague. Very vague may be more precise…. that’s why I wrote the paragraph above clarifying the law in each australian state.

  2. 0

    My dog goes into raptures when I mention going for a drive.She has her “dress”, a harness and is clipped to a seat belt anchor. I must admit to letting her ride unrestrained sometimes going to local shop(1km) cos she loves to sit in the front seat and look out the front window.

  3. 0

    Actually I find it calms the tail-gater to have my smiling fur ball peering through the back window and they tend to back off.



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