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Some Drivers Gone Barking Mad

Date: 17-07-2020

As people take to their cars for a staycation, road safety professionals are asking motorists to belt up all the family, including your pets. Car insurance policies could be invalidated if motorists let their dog wander around in the front of the car.

A recent survey in the UK showed nearly 90% of all motorists who regularly travel with their pets had been distracted by their animal when driving.

A further 11% had nearly crashed into the vehicle in front because of the distraction. Paris Hilton started a fashion trend with her Chiwawa pursepooch Tinkerbell so in many cases dogs are becoming a Fashion Accessory and are carried on their person or displayed in their vehicle.

Pets car travel safety is a major concern. There are serious dangers with unrestrained pets that travel in the car. An unrestrained dog or cat in the car during travel can be a hazardous distraction to a driver. Even if your pet is well behaved in the car, you still have to consider your pet's safety should another driver cause you to slam on your brakes or get into a collision. Car insurance companies may decide to axe your cover for letting a dog near the front of the car as this would breach the terms of the rules of the road and could risk penalty points. This is because pets should be restrained inside a vehicle at all times to avoid them distracting the driver or other road users. Allowing a pet to walk freely around a car could be considered driving without due care and attention which could lead to devastating consequences.

A 27 kilogram dog riding unsecured in a vehicle will become a 1224 kilogram projectile if a wreck happens at just 55 Kilometres per hour - a bad-news reality for the dog and for the humans in the car, in some cases Insurance claims can be invalidated if pets are not safely restrained in the vehicle.

"A high percentage of people don't use safety restraints or crates for their pets when they've got them in the car. Any passenger can be a distraction for a driver, we need people to belt up the whole family, including the pets," said Road Safety Officer, Noel Gibbons.

“Dogs are such an important part of people’s lives so it’s understandable that owners want to take them out and about with them."

"However, the survey shows many people don’t know the safest way to travel with their dogs and some are even unwittingly breaking the law by letting their dogs roam around the car whilst they are on the move.”

For the fact is, we have heard from way too many emergency workers about an unhappy cascade of horrors that often occurs when an unsecured pet travelling in a vehicle is involved in a collision. Not only can there be significant injuries to the animal and the people in the car, there's frequently a second wave of awfulness.

Mr Damien Feeney paramedic said ''Maybe the dog escapes through a broken window and dashes into traffic, causing more collisions and very often getting killed. Or maybe the dog, hurt and scared, gets protective of its human and won't permit the emergency workers into the vehicle to assist, sometimes going so far as biting.''

Whether it's a local trip or a lengthy drive, here's how to ensure that car journeys are comfortable and safe for your dog.

We all know that it's vital for drivers and passengers to wear seat-belts. But did you know that dogs also have to be restrained when in a car?

You are recommended use either a seat belt harness, a crate, a pet carrier or a guard.

It's important to restrain dogs in the car both for their own safety and that of everyone else.

If you have room in your estate car boot for a dog crate, this can be the best way to transport your dog.

If you're going on a long trip with your dog, then exercise them well before you set off. If they're tired, they're more likely to sleep on the journey.

Bring water, and you should stop every few hours when travelling with your dog. They'll need to stretch their legs, drink water and relieve themselves - don't forget the necessary bags.

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