Travelling with a dog in the car makes drivers more likely to drive with greater care, according to a UK study. It even reduces stress behind the wheel.
The study revealed that our four-legged friends help their owners to drive more safely, with more than half (54 per cent) of dog-owning motorists admitting they drive more carefully with their furry companions in the car.
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, more than two thirds (69 per cent) of motorists aged 18–24 say they drive more carefully with their dog in the car.
Older drivers are less concerned. Among the over-55s, 42 per cent say 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) say they feel calmer at the wheel if their dog is 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.
More than 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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