With the summer holidays approaching, many of us will be hitting the open road with our families and pets, ready to enjoy some much-needed sunshine somewhere nice (hopefully!) As we know, driving safely is a top priority during road trips and it is just as important to ensure your pets are safe and secure throughout your journey.
The Highway Code states that ‘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.’
If you happen to be involved in an accident, and it is discovered that your dog (or other pet) was unrestrained in your vehicle during the time of the incident, your insurance company could invalidate your policy. Matt Oliver, a car insurance spokesman for Gocompare.com, said: “The law is clear – you must secure your animal while in a car – therefore if you don’t do this and an animal roaming freely around the vehicle is said to have contributed to causing an accident, then an insurance company could be well within their rights not to pay out on a claim.”
Money you would otherwise be spending on outdoor activities and eating out this summer holiday will instead be spent paying for any damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved. And let’s not forget those exceedingly high medical costs which could potentially result in an eye-watering five-figure bill.
Not only this, if you are found guilty of travelling with pets with none or very few safety aspects considered, you could run the risk of being prosecuted with a potential 12-month disqualification. This is on top of the risk of injury to both you and the pet in question.
So, how can you ensure safe travel with your pets?
Below are some useful tips to ensure you and your pets have a safe and pleasant journey this summer holiday:
- Purchase a pet seat belt or car harness (you can also buy pet-barrier safety nets to let them roam free in the boot).
- Take your dog for a long walk before starting your journey. This will release any pent-up energy they may have and avoid possible restlessness during the trip.
- Don’t feed your pets before you travel as many animals suffer from motion sickness.
- If you’re travelling a very long distance, take a decent supply of their normal food and schedule any toilet/fresh air breaks.
- Never leave an animal alone in a car, especially on hot days, as this could lead to dehydration.
For more information on traveling with pets, read Gocompare.com’s guide to travelling with your pet.