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Driving tips

Tips to keep yourself (and Fido) safe when driving

Goggles, doggy seatbelts and other things you probably didn't even know you need

Published August 13, 2013
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Protecting your eyes, and those of your pet, should be a major priority whenever you’re out motoring.  Vision is perhaps the most fragile and most valued of our senses, so why do we take such poor care of our eyes?

Before he immigrated to Canada, a friend says he used to ride his motorcycle all over Guyana without eye protection of any sort – until his doctor told him his corneas looked like the cratered surface of the moon due to repeated high-speed impacts of sand and dust.

Fortunately, there was no infection and the scare convinced him to safeguard his vision in future.

Always wear eye protection when cycling or motorbiking.  If your helmet doesn’t have a visor, tinted safety glasses are shatterproof and provide side protection that ordinary sunglasses may not.  At night, clear safety glasses are advised.  (These have kept buckets of bugs out of my eyes when bicycling.) Some even come in styles that resemble designer sunglasses.

Related: Okay it’s bad for their eyes, but how cute are these dogs?

Some other things you may not know about driving safety:

Your dog is also at serious risk of eye injury if allowed to poke his head out of car windows.

According to petmd.com, “even the smallest eye injury (a tiny scratch, for example) can develop into an infected wound and result in loss of vision.  Additionally, dogs may scratch or paw at an injured eye, causing further harm.  Seek medical attention if your dog is squinting, avoiding bright lights, excessively blinking, or if there’s heavy tear production.

Doggy seatbelts are another overlooked safety feature. You may have seen the pet food commercial where a dog rides in a convertible and a doggy-seatbelt has been animated in (it doesn’t move along with the dog).  Apparently, they didn’t think of pet safety when filming the commercial.

Don’t make the same mistake.  You can buy doggy seatbelts are available that attach to the dog’s harness and then clip into the seatbelt buckle.  Restraints to keep dogs inside pickup beds are also available.

Airbags are deadly to animals.  Pets are safest seatbelted in the middle rear seat (due to side airbags) or in the cargo area of SUVs and minivans, either in a pet carrier or with a safety barrier to prevent them from being hurled forward and endangering passengers in a crash.

As cute as it looks, pets should not ride in the front passenger seat unless the airbag has been deactivated.

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