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Why Is Head and Neck Support Important for Racing Drivers?
Curious to learn about safety protocols for motorsports? Here’s a guide detailing why head and neck support is crucial for racing drivers.
Racing drivers frequently defy expectations as they make mind-bending maneuvers at impossible speeds. A race car is a complex machine, and the driver behind the wheel needs to understand it properly to tame it.
Most race car drivers wear protective racing gear to the track. They deck themselves out from head-to-toe in auto racing shoes, gloves, and a carbon fiber helmet. However, one essential piece of equipment for racing drivers is a head and neck brace.
Head and neck support is vital for racing drivers. Every motorsport – whether Formula One or NASCAR – mandates the use of head and neck support in racing cars. The stringent enforcement of head and neck support has given rise to an acronym called “HANS,” commonly used in motorsport circles.
Importance of Head and Neck Support in Motorsports
Formula One implemented mandatory use of a HANS device following the death of legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna. Since then, the HANS device has helped save the lives of countless drivers worldwide.
The HANS device system consists of a carbon fiber shoulder collar that is tightly fastened under the driver’s safety belts and connects to the driver’s helmet with elastic straps. Bob Hubbard created the HANS device to protect the driver’s vertebrae during an accident.
The HANS device protects drivers from an accident’s force of impact, which can often be fatal. The system’s helmet straps restrict the driver’s head from moving, while the shoulder collars absorb and redistribute the force generated from the head’s movement. The device reduces the force of impact by 86 percent and neck motion by 44 percent.
Although the HANS device went on sale in 1990, the F1 governing bodies of the sport didn't mandate its use until 2003. In 1995, Mika Hakkinen injured his skull in a devastating accident. The FIA, the governing body for the sport, instituted research to protect drivers from such injuries following the accident.
How Crashes Impact Drivers
Crashes, even at low speeds, can have a devastating impact on drivers. If an accident occurs typically, there is an abrupt deceleration. The car slows down or grinds to a halt. This deceleration can be extremely dangerous for the driver behind the wheel, exerting massive G-Forces on the body that can result in whiplash or other serious injuries.
Most drivers have seatbelts protecting their core and securing it to the seat. However, the other parts of the body aren’t well-protected, like the head and neck. Sometimes, submarining can occur as the pelvis moves forward and the shoulder angles reduce during a crash. Implementing a head and neck support system can protect drivers from such risks.
Protecting Yourself with the Appropriate Motorsport Equipment
If you enjoy motorsports, having the appropriate gear is essential. Fast Racer is a leading online retailer that can sort out all your equipment needs. Motorsport enthusiasts can buy driving helmets from our store. We also have hans device and other neck restraints for sale.
Our store features a vast collection of motorsport equipment and apparel. We sell equipment from the top brands such as Bell race helmets and alpinestars shoes.
Visit our website to find the ideal protective gear for your racing needs.