Some 22m leisure journeys by car are planned for this bank holiday weekend, over 8m more than last year and the highest number since the RAC first started asking drivers in 2014, according to new figures.
With warm and sunny weather predicted in the south by the Met Office Sunday, and they may decide to hold off returning until monday or even tuesday.
Getaways look set to peak on Saturday with an estimated 6.6m separate trips planned (up from 3.8m last year), followed by bank holiday Monday (5.6m, up from 2.9m) and this coming Friday (5.3m, up from 4.5m), a day when drivers look likely to experience some lengthy jams as regular weekday traffic combines with the expected leisure traffic. It means that in total it is estimated there will be in the region of 22.5m leisure journeys taken by UK drivers between Friday and the end of the long weekend.
There are around 8 million pet dogs in the UK and with 56% of owners stating they enjoy their holiday more when with their dog, many road trips are taken with man’s best friend. But whether they are excited or agitated, driving with your dog can be distracting.
On the other hand 32% of cat owners say that their cat is afraid of travelling in the car, which is most likely down to the fact that these pets associate car journeys with going to the vet. This can make moving house or other long trips stressful for the cat and likely to distress and distract drivers too.
Many Brits may not actually know this, but Rule 57 of the Highway Code states animals should be suitably restrained so they cannot cause distraction to drivers. If a pet is the cause of a road traffic accident, insurers will be unlikely to pay out. Travelling with an unrestrained pet would warrant drivers to be pulled over and charged for driving without due care and attention – carrying a fine of up to £2,500 and nine penalty points.
The team at CarShop has revealed some top tips when driving with your pet:
- Ensure pets are strapped in the back seat and away from any airbags that could cause harm. Dogs should wear a harness which can be clipped into the seat belt fastener and should be placed behind the passenger seat, NOT the driver’s seat so no distractions can occur. Cats, hamsters and other pets should travel in a cage that can be strapped in securely with a seatbelt.
- If pets are anxious travellers, make them feel more comfortable by bringing familiar surroundings such as their favourite toys, chews, blankets and bedding. If they live in a small enough cage, bringing the whole thing should limit restlessness. Anything that smells like a pet’s owner or their home will chill them out.
- Try not to feed pets within two hours of a journey to minimise car sickness and upset stomachs. However, if the journey will take quite a few hours then make sure there is food stocked in the car especially for smaller pets such as hamsters.
- When taking dogs on a road trip, preparation is key. Planning journeys in advance and making sure there are plenty of places to stop, nice parks and long walks along the route will make it a much nicer and more relaxing experience for both pet and owner. Try to regularly take dogs in the car to fun places before a big road trip so that they associate the car with having fun, enabling them to be happier travellers.
- Use sun shades on windows in warm weather and be sure to always carry plenty of water so there is no chance of animals overheating. NEVER leave a pet in a car on their own – even in cooler temperatures. Make sure windows are open slightly but not enough so that pets could jump or hang their head out as this is extremely dangerous.