Motorists are unaware of safety procedures when it comes to travelling with their pets in a vehicle.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that when in a vehicle, dogs or other animals should be suitably restrained so they can’t distract drivers 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.
Over half (56%) of pet owners who drive in Great Britain are not aware of the Highway Code law when it comes to driving with their pets. A staggering 61% of female drivers lack knowledge in this area, compared with 51% of male drivers. Furthermore, 1 in 5 (22%) British pet owners admitted that they do not restrain their pets whilst travelling in a vehicle and 12% would allow their pet to sit unrestrained in the passenger seat whilst driving.
Whilst a fifth (20%) of 18 to 24 year olds stated that driving with their pet in the vehicle made them feel happy, 17% of drivers in Wales said they feel nervous when travelling with a pet. Overall 9% of male drivers admitted they have lost control of their vehicle whilst travelling with their pet and 1 in 10 (9%) drivers stated that travelling with their pet makes them feel distracted.
Lisa Richards, of the RSPCA, said: “If your pet is joining you in the car then it’s really important to make sure they’re safe and can be transported in a way that will not cause injury or unnecessary suffering. The UK’s Highway Code states that dogs must be restrained in a vehicle so they are safe during an emergency stop and so they do not distract the driver.
“It’s reported that a high numbers of dogs can struggle with travel, often due to motion sickness or due to anxiety, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet to make sure they are not displaying signs of travel-related problems, such as barking, whining, jumping, attempting to run around the car, salivating, vomiting, attention-seeking, licking, cowering, hiding or restlessness. If the problems remain, the RSPCA advises seeking advice from a vet or clinical behaviourist.”