Do you drive with a dog on your lap?

By Chuck Woodbury
This photo was posted on the website to illustrate an article about whether someone is ever too old to RV.

Anyone of advanced age knows that their ability to make quick decisions slows every year. Simply looking down to change a radio station and then looking back up requires slightly more time to adjust to the scene.

A dog on one’s lap, in our opinion, is simply way out of line and just plain dangerous for the driver and nearby motorists. Okay, driving to your site in the campground at 5 miles per hour — maybe not a big deal. But traveling down the highway at 65 mile per hour? It should never happen. So fess up: Do your travel on the highway with a dog in your lap? Please take a few seconds to answer the poll (it may take a few moments to load, so stand by). Only respond if you travel with a dog. If you don’t have a dog, you can simply click below the survey to see the current results.

Whether you travel with a dog or not, please leave a comment.




24 Thoughts to “Do you drive with a dog on your lap?”

  1. Dave

    In the photo of the dog sitting on the drivers lap, I feel a greater danger is the driver not being able to see out the side window.

  2. Al

    Chuck: Worse than a pet on your knee is the passengers feet on the dash. A local girl who was a passenger in her mother’s car did just that and I see this more often than pets on the drivers lap. The result the air bag drove her knees into her eyes and broke both sockets, further were the intermal injuries that resulted. The mother was eligable to retire but could not as the daughter who was now unable to work was dependant on her mothers benefits.

  3. Joseph Weinstein

    I believe that anyone who drives with an animal on their lap should be stopped and cited for reckless driving. There is no way a driver can guarantee that in an emergency situation the forces caused by a flying animal will not interfere with the drivers emergency maneuver. What are these people thinking. We have a dog, are members for a dog park, etc. But these people are putting their animals comfort over the safety of themselves and other drivers. This is just not acceptable.

  4. jillie

    Here is a funny. We just adopted a dog, Chihuahua size a few years ago. He is very curious about everything. We had him for a few weeks when we took him on a car ride. We never expected him to go under the seat and pop up between my daughters legs. Needless to say we blocked him from doing that again but we still laugh at the time curious puppy popped up and said look at me. Uh no. We do not allow dogs on drivers laps. Although this one said you will. Go figure.

  5. Karin S.

    It is wonderful to see most people are VERY against letting their dogs sit on the laps of their owners while driving. Someone even mentioned cats. They too, in my opinion, should not be allowed to roam freely. Our dog is small and sits in her dog seat, which is secured to the seat. It has a tether that I then hook into her harness. She’s not going anywhere if/when we are involved in a crash. Sadly, those who let their dogs sit in their laps are giving them a death sentence, as the speed in which the airbags deploy is 100+mph. Fido will perish in the crash, if not from the airbags, then very likely from being flown about as a projectile.

  6. Katalin Heymann

    Not only is my dog not on my lap, she wears a harness that is tethered to a car seat secured by a seat belt. It’s one of several dog car seats I’ve bought as she grew. She weighs between 12 and 14 lbs, but her long poodle legs made smaller car seats impossible for her to lay stretched out.

  7. Sherry Dawson

    Why did you limit your poll to dogs? Many RVers travel with cats only or both dogs and cats. Cats are just as dangerous or more to have loose in the driver’s cab. Their sinewy bodies can easily get underneath the brake or gas pedals, wind around the legs, and if the cat gets startled, those claws can elicit enough pain to cause a wreck! Open the driver’s window with a cat on the lap (without a secured leash) and it’s bye-bye kitty.

    My two cats travel in a secured pet cage for their safety, my safety, and the safety of other drivers on the road.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Sherry, I have never personally seen someone driving with a cat on their lap. That’s why we just limited the question to dogs. — Chuck

  8. Anne Capieo

    If it’s the law for people to be seat belted why not animals? It’s for everyone safety.

  9. Herb Zechman

    It’s just plain DUMB! Very inconsiderate putting everyone else at risk on road.

  10. Gary

    No, but I do let my German Shepherd drive since he is smarter than most humans. LOL.

    1. Magee Willis

      Love this, but want to see it before believing! I have a smart dog, too, but she lost one eye so not much depth perception so I don’t let her drive. 🙂

  11. CJ Stiles

    I love my dogs too much to risk injury or death by letting them in my lap while driving!

  12. martlin c chambers

    People that do this I want to ask a couple of questions:

    If you get into an accident what are you going to do with animal?

    Do you realize that the animal is going to be between you and the air bag and you most likely will crush it in an accident?

    Dogs should be secured with a dog’s seat belt or carried in a crate.

  13. Wolfe

    The idea of driving with my 120lb German Shephard in my lap is comical, but a small dog would be JUST as distracting.

    As discussed by Deanna Tolliver, unrestrained dogs are in danger themselves as well. My GSD is belted into a full harness in the back bench area floor, where she rests her head on the console at my elbow for ear scratches, but can’t come forward.

  14. Sue Losinger

    In Michigan, at least in Grand Rapids, it is illegal and you can get a ticket.

  15. Glenn

    Everyone seen like that should be pulled over and ticketed for reckless driving. IDIOTS!

    1. I see cars with little dogs hanging out the window all the time around here. The drivers usually have one hand holding the dog and the other hand holding their phone. Not sure how they drive….

      1. Wolfe

        I was going to say something similar about a lack of hands, but the most horrifying thing I’ve seen was a *driverless* RV where the passenger steered while the driver set cruise and went to the back to fetch something. Never underestimate idiocy.

        1. Jim

          Please don’t quote urban legends like this. Old old yarn, look it up on

          1. Wolfe

            What is the urban legend component? I didn’t say the RV drove itself, only that the passenger was steering without control of pedals for about a mile on the highway (rt 90, eastern OH, late 2016). Im not surprised if others thought or joke about it, but this guy was dumb enough to do it.

        2. Chuck Woodbury

          Wolfe, I’d like to know the source of that. Never heard about the incident. Sounds like the urban legend with a slight twist. I suspect what you reported here never happened.

          1. Magee Willis

            Actually, I have seen this quite a few times. Not saying it’s a smart thing to do, but I have seen it (not admitting anything, but may have done it on a country road). Have also seen drivers using their knees to control steering wheel – more than a few times. Note: I have a tall vehicle and can see down into most cars, SUVs and smaller PUs.

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