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Woman Refuses To Get In Sister’s Car At Airport Since She Drives With Her Dog In Her Lap

dog on driver's lap in car
Ines Fraile/Getty Images

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Distracted driving is:

“…anything that diverts a driver’s attention, including pets, from safely operating their vehicle.”

United States automotive accident statistics show more than a million vehicle crashes were caused by distracted driving in 2023.

Distracted driving leads to more than 9% of driving fatalities and more than 400,000 serious injuries each year.

Distracted drivers are nearly six times more likely to cause car crashes than drunk drivers.

According to a 2023 Harris/Selective Insurance poll, 91% of those who drove with their dog in their vehicle admitted to interacting with the dog while driving. Most of these interactions required the driver to take their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road.

A woman who objected to her sister’s driving while holding her unrestrained dog, turned to the “Am I The A**hole ” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

NoDrivingWithDog asked:

“AITA? My sister brought her dog and I refused to get in the car.”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (26, female) arranged for my sister (29, female) to pick me up from the airport. We do not live with each other—but close to each other—and it’s roughly an hour to the airport.”

“She shows up with her little dog—probably about 15 pounds—in her lap. I tell her to put the dog in the back seat, she says no.”

“I tell her i’m not getting in. I’m like ‘why the f*ck would you bring it? It’s f*cking dangerous to drive with the dog in your lap’.”

“She says deal with it—I say no.”

“I walk away and get a taxi.”

“Sure, it cost me money, but in my opinion it’s safer. As soon as I walk away, she started blowing up my phone.”

“Over the last day she has been asking for gas money. I sent a simple text that said no.”

The OP summed up their predicament. 

“AITA for not accepting a ride from my sister because of her dog?”

“I might be the a**hole because she wasted 2 hours and a lot of gas to come to get me, and I refused the ride.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Some Redditors felt the OP was the a**hole (YTA).

“YTA for even asking your sister for a ride from the airport when it’s HOURS out of her day when you had literally no issue with getting a cab.”

“You’re close enough to ask her for a ride but not close enough to know she does this with her dog? You sound like you just want to pick fights with her.”

“Refusing to get in the car over a dog is ridiculous when she’s doing you a favor. There were so many options for solutions here, but you just went nuclear.” ~ Rtmswcbailyatairk

“YTA for your attitude. You should have gotten in and offered to hold the dog in your lap.”

“She did you a HUGE favor, and you should pay for her gas.” ~ furandpaws

“YTA. If you were wasting my damn time and money? Never again.”

“You don’t want to drive with me? That’s fine, and you still owe me gas money.” ~ Karate-Wizard

“YTA because you asked for a ride, and it’s an hour’s drive. You need to give her money, as you don’t get to make rules for your entitled butt.”

“Driving two hours is a lot. You don’t have to ride with her, but you need to pay for what you asked for… a ride.” ~ Due_Protection444

“YTA 100% for being silly and petty.”

“I would also never pick you up ever again if you made me drive 1hr for nothing and you Uber home that day.” ~ PhysicalAssociate919

“YTA. Clearly the a**hole here. Her car is her rules. She spent two hours out of her day to pick up your ungrateful a**.”

“I don’t like dogs either, but you could have dealt with it for an hour, said thank you, and paid double the gas money.”

“You still owe her gas money and an apology.” ~ Unable_Wrongdoer2250

“YTA. Even though it’s fair for you not to want to get in the car, your sister still spent the gas to drive there for you.”

“She’s out the gas that she spent to try and help you at your request, and you should make her whole.” ~ jblackwb

“YTA. It’s fine that you chose not to ride in the car with her, but she drove for 2 hours total to do you a favor. You were rude to her when she arrived with her dog and now you’re costing her money.”

“It sounds like you don’t even really like your sister.”

“I’ve never had a friend or family member drive an hour to get me from the airport, but I’d be so SOOO grateful even if I ended up not taking it.”

“You don’t sound grateful at all.” ~ Appropriate_Buyer401

“You’re a choosing beggar. YTA.”

“Arrange your own transportation next time instead of b*tching when someone else is taking time out of their day to make a two-hour round trip for your cheap/lazy a**.”

“You owe her gas money. It was a two-hour round trip regardless of whether or not you threw a tantrum.” ~ Vivid_Phrase_9003

“So your sister drove an hour to pick you up. You said no and got a cab?”

“Why not pay for her gas? (and, ideally, her time). She came to pick you up at your request.”

“You’re allowed to balk at seeing her dog, but it would still be polite to reimburse her for the time and gas you wasted. YTA.” ~ 7hr0wn

But the vast majority decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA) and told the YTA respondents that.

“I’m having a hard time agreeing with these Y-T-A responses.”

“What if it was a 40 oz of beer instead of a dog sitting in her lap? Or a few liquor shooters, some already consumed? Or what if she’s watching a live sports event on her cell phone while driving?”

“Distracted driving isn’t just about intoxication and cellphones.”

“It can be for a dog in your lap, putting on makeup in the visor mirror while driving, anything that can take your eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel, or block your feet from using the gas and brake pedals. NTA.” ~ zerostar83

“NTA, Anyone saying Y-T-A is insane. This is a safety issue. Perfectly acceptable to remove yourself from the situation when your health and safety is at risk.”

“Don’t pay her back. She is an idiot for wanting to put you in danger and putting herself and her dog in danger. This is her own fault.” ~ F*ckOffCatandDogOwner

“All these commenters seem to be ignoring the fact that you refused to get in a car with a driver whom you felt was not operating the vehicle safely.”

“As a driver myself, I’m horrified by the number of people I see driving with their little dogs on their laps, between their arms and leaning out the window.”

“It will ABSOLUTELY impact the driver’s reaction time if they have to swerve to avoid something/someone on the road, and even if they’ve done it without incident up until now, it only takes one time! NTA.” ~ Fine-for-now

“NTA. Driving with an unrestrained dog in the car is incredibly dangerous and illegal in my country. They turn into high-speed projectiles if you crash and could also distract the driver.”

“She should know better and be a responsible pet owner, and you are within your rights to expect that from her.”

“I sure wouldn’t get into a car with a loose dog, purely from a safety standpoint. And poor dog if something happens and it goes flying.” ~ notanastronomer

“NTA. In my state (different country, not US), it is illegal to drive with an unrestrained dog. if caught $439 fine and loss of demerit points.”

“They recognize it’s really dangerous. Also, there have been reports of dogs becoming flying projectiles when involved in major accidents.”

“Protect your dog, protect your passengers, get a dog harness, and restrain them in a car.” ~ jinxxed42

“We have cats, and in the car, they’re in the carriers with the carriers buckled up in the back seats. It’s dangerous overall to have small animals out and about in a moving vehicle.”

“They could go down where the pedals are, block your vision or movement, or, yeah, get way more injuries than they might otherwise in a crash.”

“My mom has little box car seats for her dogs that their collars/leads clip to. Wonder if body harnesses would be safer.”

“Anyways, yeah, NTA for me. No one has to get in a car with someone they think isn’t operating it safely.”

“People don’t take driving as a serious enough responsibility. They’re powerful multi-ton machines and one mistake from you or any of the other people near you can be an instant tragedy.” ~ big_mothman_stan

“NTA, OP. Animals should be kept in a tied down safe space (crate, cage, whatever) and NOT loose in the front of the car.”

“That pet will become a projectile that’s bouncing around the car if they ever get in an accident. Goodbye pet, hello injuries.” ~ energetic_sadness

“NTA. I have several first responders in my life who have some gruesome vehicle accident stories involving unrestrained pets.”

“People will secure themselves, but somehow logic goes out the window when it comes to animals. I know this is something people get defensive about (bUT mY dOg siTs CaLMLy!).”

“It doesn’t matter how well-behaved a pet is when in a dangerous crash.” ~ paul_rudds_drag_race

While the sister’s distracted driving was a valid reason to refuse the ride, does it negate her driving two hours to pick the OP up at the airport?

Should the OP reimburse her sister for gas even if the ride was deemed unsafe?

These are questions the OP will need to answer herself.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.