Not all highway code rules are widely known, and there is one concerning pets that many owners aren’t aware of. Breaking this rule can mean penalty points on your license and hefty fines. It's worth knowing if you take your pets in the car.
Secure Your Dog
The rule relates to the need to secure your animals while driving. Having a pet roaming the car or on a passenger's lap breaks the highway code and does not count as correctly securing your dog or cat. Pets must be adequately restrained, and according to Direct Line, which carried out a survey, around 40% of pet owners who have dogs in their car frequently failed to meet the safety guidelines. 15% of those surveyed confessed that they never bother to secure their pets which not only can see them fined and receive points on their license but can distract the driver and cause accidents.
How to Secure Your Dog Safely
The highway code clearly states that if a pet is in a vehicle, this includes dogs, cats or any other animal, it must be suitably restrained so that it cannot distract or injure the driver. Although breaking this rule has no fixed penalty, if you are involved in an accident, and it is deemed that the animal was distracting you, the fine could be more than £200. If you are considered to be driving without due care and attention, recklessly or carelessly, you could also receive nine points on your license, depending on how bad the incident was.
Direct Line Pet Insurance Veterinary Nurse Madeline Pike said: "Securing your dog helps to prevent injuries or avoidable distractions. While it may be tempting to have your beloved pooch enjoy the ride in the front seat or freely in the car, dogs should always be secured, whether using a seat belt, dog guard or pet carrier and usually keeping them in the backseat or boot. Owners must be looking out for their pet’s well-being and other road users. Securing dogs and other animals properly can help prevent injury and potential collisions and keep attention onto the roads."
Keeping Your Best Friend Safe
Pat owners are also urged to consider their animals. It's not just about whether the animal causes an accident; this is the legal part. From a humane point of view, animal lovers should be aware that dogs involved in accidents are more likely to survive and be less significantly injured if they are correctly restrained in the car. An unrestrained animal becomes a missile that will damage itself or anyone else it hits when thrown across the vehicle on impact. Being kind to your pet means keeping them safe and ensuring they are not in any danger of being injured. Finally, unrestrained pets in car accidents often flee the scene due to fear and are killed on the road anyway. If your pet is correctly secured in the vehicle, it can be rescued by emergency services and kept safe.