Many people like to travel with their pets, and let’s face it: Adventures are even more exciting when your dog gets to enjoy them too. But there are a few things you should know before you hit the open road.
Did you know that just over one in five drivers leave their dogs unsecured while they’re driving? Just like us, dogs need to be safely secured in a moving vehicle so that they remain uninjured. If you have to stop suddenly, or you’re involved in an accident, your dog can become a missile, making the situation much, much worse than it would otherwise be.
The Highway Code also specifies that you need to travel a certain way with your dog, and if you don’t, you can end up in serious trouble. Rule 57 states that all motorists must ensure that dogs (along with any other animals) are well restrained so that they don’t cause any distractions while you’re driving.
The rule states that animals need to be restrained in a way that ensures they won’t cause injury to themselves, or anyone else in the car if you need to suddenly stop. It suggests a few ways to do this, like a seat belt harness, guard, cage, or pet carrier.
This means that your dog shouldn’t be running around the back seats, lying in the passenger footwell, or hanging its head out of the window. Unfortunately, many drivers have no idea that they should be adequately restraining their dog, and 22.5% of people surveyed by TyrePros admitted that they are not securing their dog properly while driving.
While you won’t necessarily be prosecuted if you’re pulled over and found to be disobeying Rule 57 of the code, you may still end up in trouble. That’s because your pet may be distracting you, which can mean a fine of up to £1,000. If the police officer decides that you weren’t driving with attention and due care, you can be fined up to £5,000, and if it goes to court, you could have nine points on your license. In some cases, you can even be banned from driving and will then need to retake the test.
If you’re ever involved in an accident caused by your pet not being properly restrained, it’s likely that your insurer will invalidate your insurance policy, which means that you’ll be looking at a large bill. Not to mention, you’ll also likely have an injured pet on your hands, which may mean a trip to the vet.
Hopefully, this blog post has given you something to think about if you’re one of the 1 in 5 people who drive without restraining their pets. Make sure you’re keeping safe when driving with animals, and ensure you don’t break the law so you don’t risk fines, injury, or worse.
Do you drive with your dog in the car? Do you restrain them? Let me know in the comments below.