Dogs sometimes feel the need to help us navigate to our/their favourite destination when we’re travelling by car. Many of us have had the ‘pleasure’ of a helpful dog shouting out instructions from the back of our vehicle ‘The park! Let’s go to the park!! Will we be at the park soon??? We’re going the wrong way. This looks more like the route to the vet’s, not the par…oh, s**t!! Turn around, turn around!!!”
Yes, dogs do make our journeys more interesting in the car. Now a road safety guide for people who travel with their pets has been produced by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to assist dog owners travel safer with their pets.
In a motor crash, an unrestrained pet could be seriously injured, or could injure other people travelling in the car by being thrown forward. This new guide gives advice and safety tips which could save your or your pet’s life….
Travelling with pets can have many hidden dangers. For instance, at 30mph, a 50lb border collie would be thrown forward with a force equivalent to almost 9 12 stone men.
Even pets that are normally well behaved could be frightened by something unusual, make sudden dives or become noisy and agitated.
Vets report the high number of animals they treat who have been injured whilst travelling.
The Department for Transport has worked with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the PDSA to produce an advisory leaflet, Carrying Pets Safely, which explains some of the dangers (to drivers and animals) of driving with unrestrained pets and solutions and helpful tips for making travelling by car as safe and comfortable as possible
Although drivers aren’t required by law to make their pets ‘belt up’ it is an offence, rule 43 of the Highway Code states that “When in a vehicle, make sure that dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you if you stop quickly”. Failure to observe provisions in the Code may be used to establish liability for an offence.