Head on Collision at 40mph Print
Sienna, my Bichon, and I were headed to our weekly rally class around 7pm this past Wednesday. As I was entering an intersection (with the right of way) on a fairly busy road, a car in the oncoming lane unexpectedly turned left in front of me. It happened quickly and he was so close to me when he turned that I didn’t have any time to brake. It was basically a head on collision at 40mph, with both of our cars sustaining massive damages.
My vehicle was totaled. Pieces of my engine were strewn across the intersection, oil and fluids leaking everywhere, and his car had pinned my driver’s side door closed. Climbing out through the passenger’s side door, I immediately tried to open the rear lift gate to get Sienna. It wouldn’t budge. I was close to panic at that point, and still pretty disoriented from the crash itself.
A few wonderful bystanders came over to make sure I was okay; one of them was able to quickly figure out the escape hatch (I wasn’t thinking super clearly at that point, beyond telling him that it existed) and pull Sienna out through the backseat. She was a bit shaken up by the crash itself and the loud noises of the traffic and ambulance. But physically she was completely, amazingly, 100% fine.
I had purchased my Variocage not even 3 months before the crash. Before that I had used safety harnesses for years, but my current dogs didn’t love wearing them. They were also a bit of a pain to put on and with how often I drive with my dogs (3-4 days a week) I found myself getting lazy about using them.
My dogs are well behaved and the drive to class is so short, it was easy to fall into the habit of just having them lie down on the seat next to me. But I knew I was taking an unnecessary risk riding with my girls loose. I needed something safe for them and easy for me (so I would actually use it). Everyone I knew who had a Variocage loved them. So, I finally got one. Apparently just in time.
Looking back, the idea that I had my dogs unrestrained in the car at any point makes me sick. I’m a careful driver. This crash wasn’t my fault but that didn’t prevent it from happening. I never would have forgiven myself if Sienna had been injured or killed, and she absolutely would have been.
At the speed I was going, with a head on collision, Sienna’s little 11lbs body would have slammed right into if not through the windshield. Or the dashboard. Or me. It could have ended so much worse than with just a totaled car. I am so, so grateful she was in a Variocage.