Some safety hints for travelling with pets

Brian Joss – Over the festive period a family was involved in a crash that resulted in the death of three passengers. Three dogs were also travelling in one of the cars and following the accident, two dogs were missing and one was dead.

While the dogs have since been found, the remaining human and animal family members have been left traumatised.

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says an example like this emphasises the importance of restraining animals just as you would human travellers. “It is important to restrain your pets for a number of reasons. The first is to prevent them from causing a distraction while you are driving by moving around or trying to reach you while you should be focusing on the road.

 “The second is to provide them with protection in the case of a crash or abrupt evasive action to avoid a crash. Your seatbelt prevents you from flying through the windscreen, lurching forward or hitting the dash or steering wheel when you brake abruptly. Unrestrained animals do not have the same protection. They are at even greater risk if they are standing when you brake suddenly.”

With the many options available to restrain animals, not doing so is unnecessary. “Whether you teach your pets to travel in safely secured crates or make use of seatbelt restraints designed for animals, we urge to start doing so right away. Even if travelling is something your pets are accustomed to, anything can happen at any time. Restraining your pets is something these members of your family deserve.”

Follow these extra tips to keep your animals safe while you travel: never let your pet travel on the front seat; attach a tag with all your information to your pet’s collar in case they escape from the car in a crash or in at a pit stop, train your pet to travel in a crate or with a restraint it’s a puppy or a kitten,don’t leave your pet in a stationary car, even with the windows open. Temperatures can quickly reach over 40 degrees Celsius, and don’t allow your pet to travel with their head out of the window.

 To encourage safe driving behaviour with your pets, MasterDrive is giving away a number of safety belt clips for dogs. Email editor@masterdrive.co.za to enter with your full name and contact number. The winners will be notified in March.

CAPTION: It’s a no-no: don’t allow your pet to stick its head out of the window. Picture: Freestock.org/Motorpress

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