Brits are unaware of the correct safety procedures when it comes to travelling with their pets in a vehicle, new survey reveals.
Leading vehicle leasing company Leasing Options has surveyed the nation’s drivers that are pet owners in order to reveal just how much consideration they put into a car journey with their pets and whether they are breaking 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 dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars 
Over half (56%) of pet owners who drive 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.
Furthermore, 1 in 5 (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 opt for restraining their pets whilst driving the top three methods are: Specific pet seatbelt (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 numbers 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: “By taking a closer look at the nation’s habits when it comes to travelling with their pets and also seeking advice from leading pet charity the RSPCA, we aim to clear up any misconceptions when it comes to taking a car journey with man’s best friend.
“We want to ensure UK drivers have all the information they need to improve safety on roads across the UK. Making sure pets are properly secure whilst travelling in a vehicle is a simple yet effective way of ensuring our roads are safer for everyone.”
To learn more about how to travel with pets safely please visit: https://www.leasingoptions.co.uk/news/driving-with-pets/4580