When you see a dog with its head poking out of a car window, it’s a sight that is guaranteed to raise a smile. But the dog’s owner won’t be smiling when they find themselves in trouble with the law and having to pay an enormous fine. It’s against the law to allow your pooch to poke their head out of your moving car and the resulting fine could be as much as £5,000! Ouch!
If your dog hangs its head out of the window and you are caught, your insurance could go through the roof too. But all of this is nothing next to what could happen to you if the actions of your pet lead to you causing an accident.
Pets and the Highway Code
The Highway Code states that drivers need to ensure ‘dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop too quickly’. It is recommended that you use a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or guard to restrain your pet whilst you are at the wheel.
An unrestrained pet can result in a £100 fine if they distract you and this rises to a maximum of £5,000 if you don’t pay it on time. However, figures recently released by uSwitch show that 34% of drivers in the UK don’t know this and 19% allow their pets to roam free in the car when they are driving. Oops!
Pet Related Accidents
If you have an accident when your pet is on the loose in your vehicle, then your insurers will probably refuse to pay out, even if your pet had nothing to do with what happened. It is a car insurance loophole that could cost you thousands. Not to mention the enormous trouble that you will find yourself in if you seriously injure or kill anyone. It’s impossible to prove a negative so how do you demonstrate that your pet wasn’t the cause of your lapse in concentration?
Think Before You Drive
We all love to indulge our furry friends but it is important to remember that you are required to secure them. If you are setting out with your pet in the car, you should always take the necessary precautions to prevent your pet from moving about the cabin and distracting you. If you haven’t done so already, t is worth investing in a cage or safety harness, whatever works best for you and your furry friend when you are on the road.
A pet seat belt will cost as little as £4 and a harness less than £10. It’s a small price to pay to enhance your safety and that of other road users and this small outlay could save you from a whole world of trouble and expense further down the line.
If you fall foul of the law, you may not be driving at all!