Drivers may be issued fines for dangerous driving if they swerve to avoid cats and rabbits

RSPCA expert gives tips on keeping pets cool in the heat

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Experts warn smaller creatures including popular pets such as cats and rabbits are not a “significant threat” that need to be avoided. It could mean drivers are issued large fines or may even invalidate their car insurance agreement for trying to avoid hitting the animals.

Dangerous driving penalties are more likely if a sudden swerve “puts road users or pedestrians in danger”.

Select Car Leasing says the rules are different if road users dodgeto larger animals such as horses or dogs.

In this situation, officials may “deem the action as reasonable behaviour”.

Graham Conway, Managing Director of Select Car Leasing said: “If you take steps to avoid hitting a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog, a court may deem that action as reasonable behaviour.

“The bad news for creatures like cats, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and badgers is that they’re not large enough to be deemed a significant threat that needs to be avoided.

“A court may simply not find it ‘reasonable’ for a motorist to perform an emergency stop to avoid a small animal if doing so could cause harm to other humans.

“So if your evasive action puts other road users or pedestrians in danger, you could be in trouble.”

According to the RAC, dangerous driving is classed as driving which “falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driving”.

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Drivers could be hit with an unlimited fine and a driving ban.

In less serious cases, drivers could be instead issued a careless driving penalty.

The RAC says this covers a wide range of issues from poor lane discipline to swerving.

Penalties can run from a simple £100 fine and three penalty points to heavier £2,500 fees and driving bans.

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