Safe Car Travel with Your Dog - A Survival Story
For years I've wondered why our country does not have seat belt laws for dogs in cars like we do humans. As I drive I often see large and small dogs moving around in cars, distracting their drivers and generally posing a danger to themselves and others as they cruise down the road.
Pet Travel Statistics
When you look at some of the statistics they are staggering. There are 43.3 million households in the US with pets, that is a LOT of pets.
- 84% of dog owners do not restrain their pets when they travel with them
- 60% of dog owners have been distracted by their pet while driving
- 52% of dog owners have petted their dog while driving a vehicle
- 17% of drivers allowed their dog to sit on their lap while driving
- 13% of drivers admitted to giving their dog food or treats while driving
- 4% of drivers admitted to playing or entertaining their dog while driving
The dangers of this are staggering. Having the dog in the car and not restrained is a huge distraction for the driver. As you can see from the numbers above, our dogs are a major distraction while driving. Maybe more so then our cell phones.
Now that we are distracted and likely not in our best state of attentiveness while driving, our dog is in serious risk of injury or death if or when an accident does occur. But to make things even worse, when this accident occurs that unrestrained dog can be thrown into us during this accident furthering injury to both the driver, passengers, and the dog.
What can we do to prevent distracted pet driving and keep them (and us) safer in the car?
MIM Construction is a Swedish company obsessed with crash safety. Over the past twenty years, MIM Construction AB has designed and manufactured over 350 crash tested automotive safety products that are effective in reducing the risk of serious injury or death for drivers, passengers, and pets. MIM has gained extensive experience and knowledge from hundreds of crash tests where MIM designs and products have been utilized. Part of their work is in the pet industry. MIM makes the only crash test rated pet crate in the world, the Variocage. The Variocage has been tested for front, rear and rollover accidents using SPCT and ISO testing and safety standards as well as ECE Government Automotive Industry Crash Test Standards. It has received a Perfect Track Record of Safety for over a decade.
Real World Crash Safety - A Case Study
Below are actual pictures from a recent automobile accident in which the driver was severely hit by a larger vehicle. You can see that the drivers green can is totally destroyed. The drivers was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She also had a dog in the car with her. But she had chosen to purchase an MIM Variocage for her dog. You can see that the dog was not injured at all in the accident, and was sitting by the side of the road waiting to be taken back home.
If you look closely, you can see the Variocage in the back of the car has crumpled slightly, as it was designed to do, but the structure remaining and protected the dog from injury. The built-in crumple zones allowed the crate to flex and compress slightly instead of snapping and crushing the dog.
These crates are NOT cheap, they come with a premium. But for the pet owner who is truly interested in keeping themselves and their pet safer while traveling, it is worth the cost and then some. Just take a look at some of the reviews found on Amazon:
This is the finest vehicle dog crate we have ever seen and a fantastic product. We travel over 25,000 miles a year with out dogs. They are always in crates or seatbelts. So when we saw this crash tested crate we thougth it would be a good investment. Pricey but worth the money. The large fits our 2018 Ford Explorer with room to spare.
The standard Variocage, available in four base sizes, is further adjustable to better accommodate any sized dog. The Variocage also is available as a segregated double wide for multidog families. MIM has two additional models to meet unique needs - one designed for compact cars, the other for very small dogs or cats. With all the optoins below, there is bound to be a crate that fits your pet and vehicle.
|Variocage Single||Variocage Double||Variocage MinMax||Variocage Compact||Variogate|
|For Single Dogs||For Two Dogs or Very Large Pets||For Small Dogs or Cats||For Station Wagons, Hatchbacks or similar||Universal Gate for use with Most SUVs and Wagons|
|The MIM Variocage Single is designed for one dog and is proven to provide protection to you and your pet while still leaving sufficient space for other cargo in your vehicle. Available in 6 adjustable si||
The MIM Safe Variocage Double is the largest Variocage offered and is built for two dogs, and the movable center divider is easily adjustable if one dog needs more space. This divider can be removed and the crate used for one dog. Available in 8 adjustable sizes.
Variocage MiniMax is designed with all of the safety features of the larger models, scaled down to protect smaller pets. Its bars are closer together to prevent smaller dogs and cats from escaping or poking their heads out between bars during transit. The smaller footprint also leaves considerable space for additional cargo.
The Variocage Compact is designed for use in vehicles that have a threshold (or sill) at the rear cargo door, such as hatchbacks, station wagons, minivans or similar. The Variocage Compact features a raised front door which is designed to clear the vehicle’s threshold without requiring special mounting or a platform. Its small footprint leaves considerable space for additional cargo.
The Variogate Transforms your cargo area into a safe and very practical environment for transporting pets and maximizing the space in your vehicle. When used with our Universal Cargo Barrier the Variogate will create a safe and secure containment area for your pets.
|View Single Crate||View Double Crate||View MinMax Crate||View Compact Crate||View Variogate|
The most outstanding design feature of the Variocage is the ability to absorb crash energy by crumpling in a predefined, controlled manner. In a rear crash, MIM has eliminated one of the most significant risks - a crate acting as a battering ram that can break a seatback and injure the occupant. The pet is also better protected from potential trauma as the Variocage won't shatter, nor are metal parts likely to protrude into the interior of the crate.
There are many options when choosing a travel crate for your furry companion (a quick search on Amazon will show you that), but from our research, we feel that the Variocage offers the best protection and performance in a real-world crash.
- Apr 01, 2019
- in Pet Blog