How to drive with a pet passenger - and avoid a £5,000 fine!

How to drive with a pet passenger - and avoid a £5,000 fine!

From a quick drive to the park to a road trip across the country, motorists are often joined by their four-legged friends in the car – especially during the summer months. However, while pups might love lolling out of the car window, the experts at Bristol Street Motors have warned that this adorable act could land motorists in hot water...

The automotive experts at Bristol Street Motors explain, “Although it is common to see dogs with their heads out of car windows, the Highway Code states that when in a vehicle, dogs or other animals must be safely restrained. This is so that they cannot cause distraction or injury to the person driving.  

“Even on the quietest of roads, drivers could face a significant fine of £5,000, as well as penalty points on their licence, for letting their pets rest out the window.” 

To help motorists enjoy a drive with their dog, here are their top tips to ensure pet passenger safety...

Purchase a pawfect seat belt

You wouldn’t allow an ordinary passenger to ride in your car without their seat belt on and the same applies to your dog too. 

A dog seat belt or harness will ensure your dog is safely secured and reduces the risk of being distracted by them while driving. These belts are adjustable and come in a range of sizes to suit different dog breeds. If you aren’t sure which harness or belt is right for your dog, then your local pet shop should be able to assist.

Create a comfortable space

Making the car comfortable for your dog will help to ease any nerves they may have when travelling, keeping them calm and settled throughout the journey. 

There are a few different options for creating a comfortable space for your pup – you could place their favourite blanket on the seat, or you can even purchase a back seat dog bed specifically for the car. For smaller dogs, a dog travel crate that can be stored in the car boot is a good option.  

If your dog sheds a lot, is prone to scratching or loves a muddy puddle, then it may also be worth purchasing a waterproof seat cover for them.

Don’t forget to travel with water

For any car journeys, particularly those longer trips, remember to travel with water so your dog can stay hydrated while in the car. This is especially important if it is a hot day or they have been on a long walk that you’re driving home from.

A collapsible dog travel bowl is a great accessory to keep in your car and take while out and about, so you can easily give your pooch water, and food when needed.

Secure distracting dogs

If you have a dog who is prone to jumping in the car or struggles to stay settled, then a dog headrest guard is a good investment to make. 

These guards are usually available in a mesh or tubular design and will help to secure your dog in the boot or back seat. This will prevent your pup from jumping or trying to make their way to the front seat, ultimately helping to avoid distracting not only the person driving, but other motorists on the road. 

Don’t leave your dog alone

The temperature inside a car can reach almost double of that outside – so even if it doesn’t seem like a particularly warm day, there are risks that your dog may overheat inside a vehicle. Therefore, when you park up somewhere, try to let your pup out of the car as soon as possible. 

What’s more, leaving your dog alone inside a car can attract unwanted attention and could put your pet at risk of dognapping. So, it is best to avoid doing so as much as possible.

Alessandra Pacelli

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