For many of us, our pets are the heart of our homes and a real part of the family. It goes without saying then, that from time to time, our furry friends are likely to take a trip in the car with us. But, did you know that travelling with your pet unrestrained in the car could land you with a hefty fine?
According to Rule 57 of the Highway Code; “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
Whilst there are no direct penalties for not observing the Highway Code, police can pull you over and fine you up to £1000 for driving without proper control if they deem your pet to be distracting. If there’s an accident as a result of the pet distracting you, this is classified as “driving without due care and attention” (otherwise known as careless driving), and can land you with a fine of up to £5000 and up to 9 penalty points on your license.
It’s not only the police who care about how you travel with animals in your car; insurers won’t take too kindly to it either. Depending on your policy, insurers aren’t likely to pay out if you cause an accident as a result of careless driving due to an unrestrained animal.
To make sure you, and your pet, can travel together safely, without breaking the law or risking penalty points or fines, consider:
- A cage or harness; whether you’re travelling with your dog, your cat or even your hamster, travel cages and pet harnesses are available from most high street pet stores, or online. With larger cages and harnesses designed for use in the boot, and smaller versions for keeping pets on your seats, just make sure you get one that’s the right size for your pet!
- Remember, your pets need toilet breaks too! At Moto sites, we have outdoor space for your furry friends to run around and go to the loo! We’d also suggest you don’t feed your pets too much before you travel to avoid any unneeded toilet stops or car sickness that may distract you while you’re driving, and leave your pet more than a little uncomfortable!
- Cars can get hot, especially in the summer months. So, as well as keeping an eye on their temperature, it could be handy to carry large water bottles in the car with you in case you need to cool your pet down quickly.
- Make regular stops; our route planner can show you some handy places to take a break from the journey and let your pets stretch their legs.