Here's why families travelling with pets are at risk of £2K fines over school holidays

Schools are out for summer in a week or so, and many parents are using the time to embark on family road trips across the UK.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:48 pm
A dog sticking their head out of the window could cost you 3 points and a £2,500 fine

However, it's been revealed that drivers are at risk of being fined if they choose to travel with their pets over the school summer holidays.

Pet owners are legally allowed to travel with their furry companions in the car, but what most don’t know is by not following the rules set out for travel in the Highway Code, they’re putting themselves at risk of being fined £13,000 in total.

Research from Peter Vardy has revealed five mistakes pet owners are making when driving with the pooches – and should rectify immediately in order to avoid fines.

1. Travelling with your dog in the hot weather could land you with a £2,000 fine and an animal cruelty charge

It’s widely known that pets should not be left in a hot parked car for a prolonged period, or owners could be charged with animal cruelty and landed with a £2,000 fine.

However, what Brits don’t know is that it also applies to driving on long journeys. Direct sunlight through windows can send the temperature inside your vehicle skyrocketing and a hot enclosed space can lead to pets overheating and experiencing heat stroke symptoms.

If you’re committing to a long journey in hot weather, you must take regular breaks and consider investing in sun shades to keep your pet cooler.

2. Letting pets out of the car on the hard shoulder could cost £2,500

Rule 56 of the Highway Code states that if you are broken down on a hard shoulder, you are not to let your pets out of the car. Doing so could not only cause a distraction to other drivers but a frightened pet could lose control and run out into the road, causing an accident.

Failing to follow this rule could land you with a careless driving fine of up to £2,500.

3. Not securing your pets properly could cost you £5,000

There’s more to travelling than putting pets on the back seat and hoping for the best. Rule 57 of the Highway Codes state that dogs should be “suitably restrained” so they do not injure you or themselves. Should a pet that is roaming freely cause you to swerve or break suddenly, you could be landed with a careless driving fine of up to £5,000.

A crash-tested pet seatbelt, cage or secure carrier are the most suitable options for securing your pooch.

4. A distracting dog could land you with a £1,000 fine

Pups that aren’t comfortable with car journeys can resort to howling or causing a struggle when trying to get out of their cage. These displays of car anxiety can distract drivers, meaning they’re likely to be pulled over by the police and slammed with a £1,000 fine for not having “proper control” of a vehicle.

5. A dog sticking their head out of the window could cost you 3 points and a £2,500 fine

Many pets like to stick their heads out of windows of cars while travelling.

Not only could this be a sign of a pet that is not properly secured, it could also cause a distraction to other drivers travelling at high speeds.

Although not a legal requirement set out in legislation, you could still be pulled over for “driving without due care and attention” which comes with three points on your license and a £2,500 fine.