In 2013, few people can feign ignorance about safety measures humans should take in cars. Buckling up, putting down the phone and installing child safety seats in the back are all second nature. But do you know how to properly restrain your dog, cat or other pet while you’re driving? And if you’re a pet owner looking for a new car, do you know what some of your best options might be?
Fortunately, few people still think it’s acceptable to tie up a dog in the bed of a pickup truck. Horrific stories of dogs thrown out of pickups are all too familiar. But risks to pets don’t stop with trucks. Indeed, AAA reports, dogs and other pets can be dangerously distracting to drivers. Proper restraints cut these distractions down and are safer for you and your pets, as well as other passengers. AAA recommends restraint systems that restrict your animal’s movements. Crates can be used but they should always be strapped down to limit injuries. Barriers might keep a dog from distracting you, but they do nothing to protect your animal in an accident.
In March, Bankrate reported that animal restraints will soon get their own crash-safety testing. Car manufacturer Subaru’s North American arm has worked with the institute for pet safety to create pet restraint testing systems.
Best Cars for Pet Owners
Once you’ve found a proper restraint, you still might be looking for the best car for pet owners. A first place to turn might be Bark Buckle Up, which rates cars and other travel options and provides information about travel-related pet safety. A few years ago, Bark Buckle Up collaborated with Edmunds to name its top ten vehicles for pet safety. Edmunds released updated rankings this March, and all of its top ten vehicles for pet owners are models that start below $35,000. Some of the models ranked on the list include the Volvo XC70, the Kia Soul, the Hyundai Tucson and the Dodge Journey.
Subaru Cars for Pet Owners
One of Edmunds’ favorite vehicles for pet owners is the Subaru Tribeca. The Tribeca, a mid-size SUV, is considered a competitor to so-called “crossover” SUVs. The all-wheel drive 2014 Tribeca starts at $34,095. Edmunds credits the vehicle’s rear-camera system and steering wheel controls for contributing to its safety. Pet owners also benefit from a highly configurable, spacious interior.
Subaru even offers a “Safe Travel for Pets” guide. The site details everything from how to prepare a pet for a trip to keeping your pet comfortable and safe during a journey. The manufacturer even sells a compartment separator that fits the Tribeca and other models, such as the Forester, Legacy and Outback wagons that can help keep pets in the cargo area to limit danger to them and other passengers in an accident.
Even the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, has positive things to say about Subaru’s pet safety chops. Subaru is a corporate partner of the ASPCA, and the organization notes that Subaru customers are “1.3 times more likely to own a pet than their competitors.”
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