1 in 3 pet owners risk huge fines for ignoring this safety rule


Millions of dog owners face a fine of up to £ 5,000 when they travel with their pets ignoring the rules of the road.

They also endanger their own safety and that of their pets and potentially cancel their car insurance by not following the rules on transporting animals.

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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: “When in a vehicle, make sure that dogs or other animals are properly restrained so that they cannot distract you while driving or injure you, or injure you. , if you stop quickly.

Research from Direct Line Pet Insurance found that 11% of drivers had been distracted by their pets while driving.

Driving while distracted is punishable by an immediate £ 100 fine, but if your actions are considered reckless driving it can go up to £ 5,000. There’s also a good chance your insurance won’t pay for an accident caused by your distracted pet.

The Code says dogs must be secured in the car using a seat belt harness, carrier, dog crate or dog guard. However, research has found that 14% of drivers let their pets roam in the back seat, 8% leave them in the trunk without a watchdog, 6% travel with them on someone’s lap, and 5% leave them in the trunk without a watchdog. allow you to sit unrestrained in the front passenger seat.

Dog cages, guards or restraints that attach to a seat belt are all options to keep your pet safe.

The study also found that one in five drivers let their dog hang their head out the window while the car was moving, and almost 1.4m (nine percent) left their dog in the car on a hot day. , despite the good temperature. know the danger this represents.

Madeline Pike, Vet Nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: “It’s great that so many dogs are being driven and we expect that to increase this summer as stays remain popular. But it is also very important to remember to secure dogs safely in a car, not only for their own health and well-being, but also to make sure they are not distracting the driver.

“Traveling with dogs is not always easy, so if you are planning a long trip, first make sure your dog is used to being in the car, that you have proper restraint for him and that you have planned regular stops. It is also essential that dogs are never left in a car on a hot day, as this can be extremely dangerous for them.

Tips for safe and stress-free travel with your pet

– Invest in the right safety equipment: There are many ways to secure a pet in a car inexpensively. The most popular options are crates, gates and harnesses, all of which allow the animal some freedom of movement without posing a risk to their safety.

– Keep your dog cool: Heat exhaustion can be a serious threat to your pet’s health, so never leave them alone in a vehicle for a while and always make sure they have access in the fresh air. Installing blinds on windows can also prevent strong sunlight from heating the car.

– Keep them safe: although it may sound like fun, you should never let your pet climb with its head sticking out of the window, as there is a risk that it will fall out of the vehicle or be hit by a passing object

– Plan frequent breaks on long journeys: animals are not able to tell you that they are thirsty or need a toilet break, so make sure you can stop safely at intervals to allow them to drink, go to the bathroom and stretch their legs

– Get your pet used to traveling: Without regular exposure to road trips, animals can get nervous on a long trip. If possible, make the car comfortable by bringing a favorite toy or blanket, and comfort your pet if they show signs of distress. Motion sickness can be common, especially in puppies, so if it affects your pet, try not to travel with him on a full stomach and try taking longer and more frequent breaks during the trip.

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