Over half of pet owners don’t know the laws regarding travelling with pets

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For animal lovers in Britain, the family pet is just that - family.

Yet research conducted by car leasing specialist, Leasing Options has revealed the majority of Brits are unaware of the correct safety procedures when it comes to travelling with their pets in a vehicle, which many will opt to do over August Bank Holiday.

The leading vehicle leasing company has polled 1,008 of the nation’s pet owners to reveal just how much consideration they put into a car journey with their pets and whether they are unknowingly breaking the Highway Code.

Over half (56%) of drivers with pets in the UK 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 to 51% of male drivers.

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

However, one in five (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 travelling.

For those who abide by the rules and do restrain their pets whilst driving, the top three methods are:

Specific pet seat belt (30%)

Cage (29%)

Travelling grate/container (27%)

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, RSPCA Welfare Expert, 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 number 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.”

Gareth Roberts, Head of Marketing at Leasing Options, said: “Road safety is something that we are extremely passionate about. The results from our research show many drivers are unaware of rule 57 in the Highway Code. This is why we have seeked advice from the RSPCA, so that we can clear up any misconceptions when it comes to taking a car journey with man’s best friend.

“Driving during the summer with family and friends can be one of the best parts of the trip and we want to ensure it is a safe one by providing all the necessary information to UK drivers.”

To learn more about how to travel with pets safely please visit: https://www.leasingoptions.co.uk/news/latest-news/driving-with-pets/4580