It certainly seems that texting might divert the average driver’s attention more than their pup-but according to a recent survey from American Automobile Association (AAA), traveling with your pet in your car ranks just behind texting while driving on a list of driving distractions.
Surprisingly, 80% of drivers admitted to taking their animal (usually a dog) along for rides around town and on road trips. However, less than 25% kept their animals restrained. Additionally, the survey showed that two drivers out of three admitted to petting or playing with their dog routinely while driving, and one in five of the drivers surveyed allowed their dogs to sit on their laps.
So, what do the results of this survey indicate? According to their research, if a 10-pound dog is loose in a vehicle and that vehicle crashes at 50 miles per hour, the dog could exert 500 pounds of pressure. In this situation both the life of the pet and the driver could be endangered. Not to mention, if you’re petting your dog, you’re probably taking your eyes off the road, even if it’s for a brief moment. The study showed that even if your attention is diverted for a mere 2 seconds, the potential of getting in an accident doubles.
What’s clear here is that both an unrestrained pet and a cell phone can cause you to take your eyes off the road. Whether your texting or petting your dog, the fact is, you’re distracted from the task of driving. As to which one is more distracting? That’s debatable; but your risk of injury definitely increases with each new distraction, so keep your eyes on the road, your cell phone in your pocket and your pet properly restrained.