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Rules of the Road when Driving with Pets

Tips for restraining your pet during your travels, as well as what the law says about driving with pets…

For most of us, our pets are a true part of the family and we want them with us wherever we go. Travelling with your pet can be a potential hazard for both the animal and the owner. Arrive Alive notes that pets can cause distractions for the driver and sudden stops could cause sever injury of death to a pet.

“Today, more and more people consider their pets as true members of their families, and there are now many pet travel products that make traveling with pets easier and much safer. Animals tend to get upset and disorientated when traveling by car. Knowing how to cope with this is vital to their wellbeing – as well as your own!” says Arrive Alive.

Take a look at the following tips from Arrive Alive for restraining your pet during your travels, as well as what the law says about driving with pets…

Restraining your pet

It is of the utmost importance that the driver of the vehicle is not distracted by fellow passengers – irrespective of whether these are humans or animals!

  • Net pet barriers can keep animals in the safe area of your vehicle and keep them from distracting the driver.
  • Truly pampered pets can ride in style in booster seats, right next to their owners.
  • These pet travel seats are supported from below, so your pet has a great view along with a comfortable ride. There are straps to secure your pet to the basket of the booster seat.
  • There are various sizes of padded pet vehicle safety harnesses that secure your pet to the vehicle’s seat belt system.
  • The safety harness keeps your pet from distracting the driver and keeps your pet secure in the event of a sudden stop.
  • If you are involved in a car accident, the restraining device will keep your companion animal from crashing into the front window or car seat.

Rules of the road when travelling with pets

General duties of driver or passenger of vehicle on public road

Reg 308.   (1)  No person driving or having a vehicle on a public road shall—

(a)   cause such vehicle to travel backwards unless it can be done in safety, or cause it to run backwards for a distance or time longer than may be necessary for the safety or reasonable convenience of any occupant of that vehicle or of other traffic on such road; or

(b)   follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent having regard to the speed of such other vehicle and the traffic on and the condition of the roadway, or more closely than is prescribed in these regulations;

(c)   permit any person, animal or object to occupy any position in or on such vehicle which may prevent the driver thereof from exercising complete control over the movements of the vehicle or signalling his or her intention of stopping, slowing down or changing direction;

(d)   when driving such vehicle, permit any person to take hold of or interfere with the steering or operating mechanism of the vehicle;

(e)   when driving such vehicle, occupy such position that he or she does not have complete control over the vehicle or does not have a full view of the roadway and the traffic ahead of such vehicle.

(f)    allow such vehicle to remain unattended on such road without setting its brake or adopting such other method as will effectively prevent the vehicle from moving from the position in which it is left;

(g)   if such vehicle is parked or is stationary at the side of such road, drive the vehicle from that position unless he or she is able to do so without interfering with moving traffic approaching from any direction and with safety to himself or herself and others;

(h)   fail to give an immediate and absolute right of way to a vehicle sounding a device or bell or displaying an identification lamp in terms of section 58(3) or 60 or regulation 176;

(i)    allow any portion of his or her body to protrude beyond such vehicle while it is in motion on such road except for the purpose of giving any hand signal which he or she is required or authorised to give in terms of these regulations or unless he or she is engaged in examining or testing or parking such vehicle;

(j)    permit any person or animal to occupy the roof, any step or running board or any other place on top of a vehicle while such vehicle is in motion;

(k)   cause or allow the engine thereof to run in such manner that it emits smoke or fumes which would not be emitted if the engine were in good condition or ran in an efficient manner;

(l)    cause or allow the engine thereof to run while the motor vehicle is stationary and unattended;

(m)  negligently or wilfully deposit or cause or permit to be deposited any petrol or other liquid fuel or any oil or grease or other flammable or offensive matter, ashes or other refuse, of whatever nature, from such vehicle upon or alongside such road; or

(n)   cause or allow the engine thereof to run while petrol or other flammable fuel is being delivered into the fuel tank of such vehicle, or cause or allow such engine to be started up before the delivery of the petrol or other flammable fuel into the fuel tank of such vehicle has been completed and the cover of such fuel tank has been replaced.

(2)   No person, other than the driver, shall take hold of or interfere with the steering or operating mechanism of a vehicle while it is in motion on a public road, unless it may reasonably be inferred that the driver is no longer capable of steering or controlling such vehicle.

(3)   No passenger in a vehicle on a public road shall permit any part of his or her body to protrude beyond such vehicle.

(4)   No person shall enter or alight from any vehicle on a public road unless such vehicle is stationary and unless he or she can do so with safety to himself or herself and other users of the road.

(5)   No person shall drive, pull or push a vehicle upon a sidewalk: Provided that the provisions of this sub-regulation shall not apply to a perambulator, invalid chair, baby cart or child’s play vehicle.

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