If you are going to be making a trip over Christmas to see family or others in your social bubble, one word of caution – take extra care if you are taking a pet with you. Yes, we know we all love our four-legged pals and want them to be part of any celebration and escape from the socially-limited routine our lives have become this year, but it’s important if you are taking pets, that they are properly restrained within your vehicle for the duration of the journey.
Failure to do so could be deemed to invalidate your car insurance. Having a dog roaming free in your car (even a really good, good boy) could, if you cause an accident, not only put yours and your pets life in danger, but also cost you a pretty penny if the worst should happen and you are involved in an accident.
And this doesn’t just apply to those longer journeys, it equally applies if you are just putting the dog in the car to go for a walk at a local beauty spot. This safety measure could be as simple as a harness that attaches to the seatbelt to keep your pet in place, to putting a full-sized dog crate in the boot of your car. Equally, a dog guard on the boot will do an equally good job of assuaging your pets, and your own safety. The same is true for cats, who may be happy to sit on your dashboard as you drive, but could easily jump into your footwell and prevent you from braking or accelerating and cause an accident. And even if your animals are restrained correctly, if you have an accident, the onus will be on you to convince your insurer that they were not causing a distraction at the time of the accident.
Police can issue fines of up to £5,000 for careless driving. You can also have penalty points applied to your license, not to mention the problems you could encounter with your insurer. So, while a pet on the road may be cute in theory, make sure you are doing the right thing by them and yourself and making sure that they are correctly restrained when you’re out on the road.