5 Safety Gear Essentials to Keep Drivers Protected
Safety gear is crucial for all racers. Here are the essential safety gears for car racers:
You know what they say: a spill, a slip, a hospital trip. Car racing as a sport involves a sizeable element of danger. A study conducted in the United States found that the number of accidents per injury was 3.2 at Indianapolis 500 between 1981 to 1984, 9.5 in the Championship Auto Racing Teams series of 1984, and about 8.2 on the highway. These included limb-threatening to life-threatening injuries.
Fortunately, with the current technology, the driver's safety can be enhanced.For instance, the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers line the walls of oval tracks to absorb the kinetic energy released in case the race car crashes into the wall. Here are 5 essential safety gears that you must hold onto for dear life:
1. Seat belts
Seat belts create a safer position for the driver, keeping the driver in place. This helps protect them from being swung out of the car or hitting the steering head-on if they meet with an accident. Seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 45 percent for the front seat passenger, while the risk of moderate to critical injuries is reduced by 50 percent.
Seats installed in the race car have also become high-tech for enhanced safety. They're now made using carbon fiber, instead of aluminum, for better shock absorption during an impact. Moreover, their design tends to wrap around the driver's shoulder and rib cage for added support in case of a crash.
It may be hard to believe, but hard shell helmets for racers wasn't even a thing up until the 1950s, and it took until 2001 for full-face helmets to be declared mandatory. Today, drivers are protected using full-face helmets that offer additional protection for their face, head, and neck,referred to as the HANS (Head And Neck Support) or head restraint. The technology prevents whiplashes and other neck injuries by attaching the helmet to the driver's body to maintain the position of the upper torso in case of a collision.
4. Fire Protective Suits And Overalls
Not only do racing suits look cool, but they also serve an essential role in the driver's safety. Drivers are expected to wear fire-retardant suits, gloves, shoes, and undergarments in case of a fire. Some drivers even prefer wearing a heat shield on the underside of their shoes as the engine tends to heat up during the race.
5. Window Nets
Although these don't go on the driver, the nylon netting you see on race cars protects the driver from flying debris and keeps their arms contained.
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