Is your Dog Safe when Travelling by Car?

Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that drivers are responsible for making sure dogs (or other animals) are suitably restrained in a vehicle so they can’t distract or injure you – or themselves – during an emergency stop.

There’s a good reason for this. A 32kg dog, such as a Labrador, will be thrown forward in a 30mph crash with such sheer force that it would weigh the equivalent of 100kg – a phenomenon safety experts call ‘canine cannonball’.

Whether your dog travels with you in the car on a daily basis or if it travels once a year for a check up to the vets it must be safely restrained.  Many dogs will sit quietly in the back seat when travelling in the car, while others will leap around which is a danger to yourself, the dog and other drivers.

An unrestrained dog can become seriously injured in the event of an accident. The force of an impact such as a collision or even the effects of braking suddenly could potentially cause your dog to be thrown forwards and get seriously hurt by the walls and seats within the car, or even potentially be thrown through the glass of the windows-accidents which sadly often prove fatal.

Experiencing an accident for anyone is upsetting and stressful, this is the same for a dog.  Should they experience an accident they become fearful of travelling again in the car, cause stress or display defensive aggression.

Insurance company says “The law is clear – you must secure your animal while in a car – therefore if you don’t do this and an animal roaming freely around the vehicle is said to have contributed to causing an accident, then an insurance company could be well within their rights not to pay out on a claim.”

Key Benefits of Restraining your Dog

Driver distraction – there’s less chance of the driver being distracted if a pet is unable to move around the vehicle.

Collision protection – if you suddenly brake or have a sudden impact there is less chance of your dog becoming thrown forward.

Window safety – your pet will not be tempted to jump from a window, nor will he/she be at risk of falling out of an open window as a result of sudden directional changes or braking.