Something hit me this morning as I was reading the links on a news website. Literally! It was Frank putting his front paws on my lap, wanting to be picked up … at the same time I was skimming over the links to different articles. One of the links regarding a deadly car crash caught my eye and I had this sudden thought pop into my head, almost as if someone were speaking loudly in my ear: “Frank! Seatbelt!” That really hit me!
I sat there stunned for a minute. With all that I wrote yesterday about Frank’s safety being important to me, I realized that I haven’t really taken that to heart when it comes to him riding in the car. He’s typically sitting unrestrained next to me, looking out the window for a while until he gets tired of straining his neck over the dashboard, and lays down with a “hmmmph,” I picked him up, looked at him and said, “Buddy, you’re not going to be happy with this, but I gotta get you fixed up for a seat belt.”
I Googled a bit, looking for doggie seat belts and all I could find were ones that were made to attach to human seatbelts in the back seat of a car. None for the front passenger seat. So I Googled “Dog seat belts front seat,” only to discover links to several articles stating that like small children, studies have shown that dogs should not ride in the front seat. And it’s not just because of the potential injury from a car crash itself but from the impact of the air bag! I also discovered that a number of states have enacted … or are about to enact … laws regarding the restraint of dogs while driving.
My first thought was, “Screw that – Frank should be free to look out the window.” But after pondering that for a few moments, I decided that there were a few facts which couldn’t easily be ignored:
- We’re going to be spending a lot more time in the car. From what I’ve mapped out so far, the trips between campsites will be anywhere between 4-6 hours and they’ll happen every 2-4 weeks.
- I’m not just going to be doing highway driving. Part of this trip is to spend time on back roads, enjoying the scenery … which means not everything is going to be a “straight-away”. There will be hills, mountains, two-lane roads with no medians, farm country, forests. Not all the roads are going to be optimum for long distance driving
- The more I drive, the more we’re at risk for an accident. God forbid that from happening, but that doesn’t mean I don’t protect myself and my compadre!
So, we’ve got to get Frank suited up, which is going to present an even bigger issue – packing! I had more or less laid out what was going in the back seat. Hell, I was ready to blog this morning about how I planned on fitting everything in the car. But I’m going to have to do some major revisions to the plans, figuring that half the back seat has to be devoted to Frank. And it’s not just the footprint – it’s all that airspace! And I can’t necessarily switch it all to ride in the front seat with me because I need to think about line-of-sight as I’m driving.
I just measured my car to see how much storage space I have The back seat is 53 ” wide and 24 ” across (from the back of 2nd seat to the back of the passenger seat (allowing for a little space). I can go about 30″ high and still have viewing space over the top. The floorboard measures 14″ x 22″ and it has 12″ of vertical space.
In the front seat, my safe packing area is about 22″ x 19″ inches, with about 24″ of vertical space. The front floorboard is about 21″ x 14″ x 14″, plus all of the space directly underneath the dashboard.
So, now I have a job to do. I’ll be back with more later.