New research by car leasing specialist, Leasing Options, has shown that a large portion of dog owning Brits are unaware of the correct safety procedures when travelling with pets.

The company asked over 1,000 UK pet owners how much consideration they put into a car journey with their pets and revealed just over half of drivers with pets are not aware of the Highway Code.

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 guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.

Despite this, one in five admitted they do not restrain their pets whilst travelling and 12 percent would allow their pet to sit unrestrained in the passenger seat whilst travelling. Of those who did restrain, a pet seat belt was the most popular method, followed by a cage and then a travelling grate or container.

A fifth of 18 to 24 year olds stated that driving with their pet in the vehicle made them feel happy, 17 percent of drivers in Wales said they feel nervous when travelling with a pet. Overall nine percent of male drivers admitted they have lost control of their vehicle whilst travelling with their pet and 1 in 10 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 sought 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 find out more about driving with pets, go here.


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