Furry friends could lead their owners towards an eye-watering fine for this little-known motoring mistake

White fluffy dog sitting in the car with door open

New data from Volkswagen Financial Services UK has revealed that 71% of drivers would make the critical mistake of taking their pet out of the car in a motorway breakdown situation.

Most people are aware that during an unexpected breakdown, they should promptly move to the hard shoulder or off the road if they can, exit their vehicle, and seek refuge in a safe location away from the road before seeking assistance.

But for pet-loving Brits taking their beloved animals on a summer staycation, falling victim to the common mistake of removing them from the vehicle in a breakdown situation could put them in breach of rules 277 and 278 of the Highway Code, with charges of this nature coming with a fine of £1,000 and penalty points.

According to the Highway Code, pets must be kept inside the vehicle unless in an emergency as a precautionary measure to prevent them from becoming loose and causing a potential accident on the motorway.

Since animals can be unpredictable, there is a significant risk they could run into traffic, which would put themselves and other road users in danger. Keeping pets secure within the vehicle also ensures other road users are not distracted by a dog or other animals at the side of the road, reducing the risk of further incidents occurring.

Mike Todd, CEO at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: “Brits are renowned for being a nation of pet lovers, often treating their cherished companions as a part of the family. It therefore comes as no surprise that many feel an understandable reluctance to leave their dogs unattended in a vehicle, while seeking a safe place in a breakdown situation.”

“By raising awareness about the importance of following the guidelines of the Highway Code, we can help pet owners safeguard their four-legged friends, protect fellow road users, and avoid costly penalties as we travel to staycations this summer.”

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