Driving with dogs: Avoid these 5 costly mistakes drivers commonly make while travelling with pets or risk a fine of up to £5,000

With many families planning to travel over the long Easter weekend, motoring experts are urging pet owners to consider how travelling with furry friends could put them at risk of fines if not done so correctly.

Pet owners are legally allowed to travel with their furry companions in the car, but what most don’t know is by not ensuring pets are securely fastened in their vehicles could land them a £5,000 fine.

Research from Peter Vardy has revealed 5 mistakes pet owners are making when driving with their pooches – and should rectify before the Easter long weekend.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

So here’s what you need to know to avoid being hit in the pocket and points on your license.

Keep your pooch cool on the road

It’s widely known that pets should not be left in a hot parked car for a prolonged period, or owners could be charged with animal cruelty and landed with a £2,000 fine.

However, what Brits don’t know is that it also applies to driving on long journeys. Direct sunlight through windows can send the temperature inside your vehicle skyrocketing and a hot enclosed space can lead to pets overheating and experiencing heat stroke symptoms.

If you’re committing to a long journey in hot weather, you must take regular breaks and consider investing in sun shades to keep your pet cooler.

A dog with its head out of the car window may look adorable - but it could land you with a fine.

The hard shoulder is no place for pets

Rule 56 of the Highway Code states that if you are broken down on a hard shoulder, you are not to let your pets out of the car.

Doing so could not only cause a distraction to other drivers but a frightened pet could lose control and run out into the road, causing an accident.

Failing to follow this rule could land you with a careless driving fine of up to £2,500.

Secure your four-legged friends properly

There’s more to travelling than putting pets on the back seat and hoping for the best. Rule 57 of the Highway Codes state that dogs should be “suitably restrained” so they do not injure you or themselves.

Should a pet that is roaming freely cause you to swerve or break suddenly, you could be landed with a careless driving fine of up to £5,000.

A crash-tested pet seatbelt, cage or secure carrier are the most suitable options for securing your pooch.

A distracting dog could land you with a £1,000 fine

Pups that aren’t comfortable with car journeys can resort to howling or causing a struggle when trying to get out of their cage.

These displays of car anxiety can distract drivers, meaning they’re likely to be pulled over by the police and slammed with a £1,000 fine for not having “proper control” of a vehicle.

A dog sticking their head out of the window could cost you points and pounds

Many pets like to stick their heads out of windows of cars while travelling. Not only could this be a sign of a pet that is not properly secured, it could also cause a distraction to other drivers travelling at high speeds. Although not a legal requirement set out in legislation, you could still be pulled over for “driving without due care and attention” which comes with three points on your license and a £2,500 fine.

Read more

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.