Motorists travelling with a dog in the vehicle tend to be more cautious and less stressed, a new survey suggests. Some 54 per cent of 2,000 dog-owning drivers told a survey conducted by Seat they drive more carefully when travelling with a pet.

The statistics are heavily weighted towards young drivers - the most likely age group to be involved in a road incident - with 69 per cent of 18-24-year-olds saying they're more cautious when driving with their dog.

Dogs could also reduce road rage, with 35 per cent saying they feel less stressed behind the wheel with a canine for company. However, despite the positive aspects of travelling with a pet, over a third didn't know if any rules governed doing so and a fifth admitted to not restraining their dog in the car.

Not keeping your dog secure not only risks the safety of the animal and other passengers in the event of a collision, the driver could be fined for driving without due care and attention in most countries.

Nigel Griggs, head of aftersales at Seat UK, said: “This study confirms that having their best friend in the car can contribute to safer driving while also having a positive mental health benefit by reducing stress levels. It appears to be a win win. Motorists still need to make sure they're keeping their dogs safe while travelling too, and finding comfortable and secure in-car pet accessories to properly restrain pets is as important as using your own seat belt.”