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15 Minutes Can Save Your Life Part 1

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Brought to you by Simpson Racing

Motorsports are more advanced than ever. The cars and safety equipment are far better and more high-tech than ever. Still, drivers and co-drivers are killed almost every week. Why? Too often drivers do not take ownership of their own safety. This checklist presentation focuses on harness system and head restraints to help improve cockpit safety. It is born from mistakes that we often see made in cockpits. We believe a quick review of this checklist by drivers and safety personnel will help prevent serious injuries and save lives.

Three Types of Cockpit Restraints are Needed
  • Securing the driver in the seat with a harness system is fundamental to cockpit safety.
  • A properly installed harness system further requires a head restraint to secure the driver’s head and neck.
  • Head surrounds and/or side nets are needed to “keep the spine in line” in side impacts.
Stop the Pelvis. Stop the Chest. Stop the Neck.
  • The pelvis is the strongest bone, or hard part, in the body.
  • The pelvis is far stronger than the collar bone or neck.
  • Stopping the pelvis reduces loads on the collar bone and neck.
Lap Belt Mounting Points
  • Lap belts are critical to the entire harness system.
  • When you stop the pelvis, it helps stop the chest and the neck.
  • To stop the pelvis, mounting points should be -45 degrees to -80 degrees from horizontal.
Lap Belt Mounting Points

Lap belts should lie flat across the pelvic bone. When tight, the buckle should be 1 to 2 inches below navel.

When Lap Belt Mounting Points are Wrong
  • The more the pelvis moves – the greater the load on the chest and neck.
  • If the pelvis does not sustain the load – ribs, abdomen, organs are at risk.
  • The more the pelvis moves – greater risk of Shoulder Belts slipping off.
Use a Six-Point Harness
  • All belts must work in concert to “keep the spine in line” and the driver firmly planted in the seat.
  • A six-point harness helps stop the motion of the pelvis and lower body earlier in a crash. This helps stop the chest and neck.
  • Stop the pelvis. Stop the chest. Stop the neck.
What happens Without A Six-Point Harness?
  • The more the pelvis and lower body move in a crash, the greater the subsequent loads on the chest and neck.
  • Possible Injury to the sternum of male organs in a crash with a single anti-submarine strap.
  • The driver is more vulnerable to offset, side impacts (spine not in line) without two anti-submarine belts.
Shoulder Belt Mounting Points
  • Mounting the shoulder belts too high or too low is a common error.
  • Optimum is -10degrees from the top point of the shoulder, including the head restraint.
  • Shoulder belts must be within -20 degrees from the top point of the shoulder, including the head restraint.
When Shoulder Belts are Mounted Wrong
  • Shoulder belts mounted too low can compress the spine, cause injuries.
  • Belts can slip off when mounted too low due to elongation.
  • The torso can slip under shoulder Belts when mounted too high.
  • A head restraint will not work without secured shoulder belts.
  • If belts slip off, head may move beyond head surround, side nets.
Get Shoulder Belts Right
  • Keep mounting points as close as possible to the shoulders.
  • If belts must be mounted more than 18-inches from the shoulders, cross the tail straps.
  • When wrapping, place the 3-bar adjuster close to the wrapping point and always add a locking loop.

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