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Old 31 Oct 2002, 11:55 (Ref:418326)   #1
matt_tentenths
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Head & Neck Restraining Systems

Dear All,

I am posting this is the hope of pooling some knowledge together about head & neck restraint systems. We all know of the HANS system, and it looks to be very effective for frontal impacts, though quite expensive - over $1000. There are others, by Simpson and I have looked at the Hutchinson system.

Has anyone had any experience of such systems and / or recommendations? Also, I have been unable to find anything that can help in a sideways impact.

Many thanks,
Matt.
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Old 7 Nov 2002, 15:12 (Ref:423862)   #2
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Surely the HANS system together with 'wings' on the sides of the seat should help in a side impact?

Personally it would seem from the drivers I've 'met' after accidents that any type of protection is an improvement on nothing!
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Old 7 Nov 2002, 15:45 (Ref:423884)   #3
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I've had indirect and unofficial feedback from the designer of the HANS that side wings on race seats are too far away to be of any use. There is a Sparco "add-on" side protection thing, but even this is too wide to be effective. Also, it can only take 15g loads - that is really bad! Race drivers often impact at 50g - 150g. It would snap off easily. Our necks and base of skull are extremely weak.

Something I think us Saloon racers need to bear in mind is that in a side impact, there is no crumple zone in the car - and if you hit an immovable object the G-forces are massive. The HANS has only been tested at 45degress, hence my question regarding restraining devices that are effective at 90 degrees.

To a certain extent I agree, anything is better than nothing, however looking into to it in some detail, it seems to me that some devices are just as ineffective as nothing!

I attach a pic, check it out - I don't this chap was going that quick, but his head position is alarmingly to one side.
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Old 7 Nov 2002, 16:33 (Ref:423912)   #4
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There's no picture attachment Matt...try again!
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Old 7 Nov 2002, 16:41 (Ref:423924)   #5
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I did the standard thing to attach, wierd - so have stuck up on a webpage - http://www.bmwrdc.com/fiesta.jpg
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Old 7 Nov 2002, 16:48 (Ref:423931)   #6
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blimey i had to look twice to make sure the picture wasn't me! did the precise same crash at mallory in my fiesta. Although the crash was mostly in reverse therefore bringing my head and headrest together I still had nasty whiplash for over a month. Hate to think how it would have felt if if was a frontal impact.
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Old 7 Nov 2002, 16:55 (Ref:423936)   #7
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I've been told that a rearward impact is the safest to have, beacuse of the headrest. But I guess the initially impact was that, but then if the car moved more in any other direction, you'd get nasty whiplash.

Does you're seat have "wings"? Dan Gibson's seat clearly does not have wings - but imagine if that was a bit quicker, it'd swivel you're head on the top of you're spine and that'd be it.
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Old 7 Nov 2002, 17:49 (Ref:423992)   #8
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Nasty... That looks to have been another 45 degree impact, just from the rear in that case.

Just shows you how much your neck and head moves - but in that picture it looks like his shoulders are moving too!

For myself, I currently use a 'horse collar' - an OMP flame-retardant foam neckbrace, if you prefer.. Nowhere as good as a HANS or Hutchinson system, but a whole lot better than nothing. I had a pretty large frontal impact last year, and hardly got any whiplash, thanks to this collar.

Anyone got any data on these 'horse collars' - how effective are they in heavier impacts?
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Old 8 Nov 2002, 09:24 (Ref:424436)   #9
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I'd say they are not effective at all in heavier impacts. They just completely de-form at anything above about 5G. Pretty much useless. They are really for supporting you're head / crash hat whilst you're racing - not for protection in a heavy impact.
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Old 8 Nov 2002, 09:46 (Ref:424445)   #10
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I can only speak as I find, the seats that I've seen have had the 'wings' quite close to the drivers helmet, I'm not suggesting that as a solution but as part of one, in conjunction with HANS or similar, surely it would all help to reduce the risk of injury?

With the 'horse collar' style surely this is better than nothing? I can't speak from a drivers perspective but from that of Rescue Crew it would seem like a good idea!
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Old 8 Nov 2002, 10:09 (Ref:424463)   #11
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I'd say that if Chris can meet a tyre wall head on at 80mph and get out without even whiplash, a horse collar is definitely better than nothing!
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Old 8 Nov 2002, 10:27 (Ref:424475)   #12
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I think that the issue is more to do with the mechanics of the accident than the speed. Hitting a solid object at 80 mph may result in no injury, minor injury, major injury or worse. The issue is 'how' the impact took place, head-on, sideways, backwards or spinning.

In an accident there are 3 distinct impacts, the vehicle colliding with whatever it hits, your body colliding with the interior of the car (even if this is actually the restraints) and your internal organs (which are not rigidly fixed inside your body) colliding with your body structure.

The way in which the impact occurs can significantly vary the outcome for the driver. Each of the 3 impacts dissipates some of the stored energy, obviously it's best if the car dissipates most of it by crumpling as this is by far the easiest to replace.

I think that the point I'm trying to make is that an 80mph head-on impact may result in no injury or major injury dependent on a huge variety of varialbles, if you can reduce or remove one of those variables then it must be an improvement in the likelihood of a no-injury accident.
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Old 8 Nov 2002, 15:42 (Ref:424666)   #13
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We've just bought a HANS device - I'll update ya'll on it in the near future, once it has had some use. In my opinion it is the best head/neck restraint system. Mandatory in F1 next year.
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Old 8 Nov 2002, 15:43 (Ref:424667)   #14
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Hi Matt, I see you're a BARC member, what do you race?
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Old 8 Nov 2002, 15:46 (Ref:424668)   #15
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I race the BMWs. Only just started really.
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