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15 Minutes Can Save Your Life Part 2

More Best Practices With Safety Harnesses
  • Keep a checklist of best practices for belts.
  • When mounted, all belts should be as short as possible.
  • No part of the belt should rub against an opening in the seat.
  • Replace belts after a heavy impact.
  • Advantages of 2-inch belts are a snugger fit across the pelvis for better retention and possible a better fit with a head restraint.
  • For drivers more than 200 pounds or faster than 210mph, we recommend the strongest belts available like Simpson Platinum 3-inch belts.
  • Polyester belts perform best because of less elongation and more uniform elongation versus nylon belts.
Priority Checklist of Best Practices for Belts
  • Mount lap belts at -80 degrees to -45 degrees.
  • Lap belts should lie flat across the pelvis.
  • Buckle 1 to 2-inches below the navel.
  • Install a six-point harness.
  • Or, add two sub belts to create a seven-point harness.
  • Mount shoulder belts within -20 degrees from the top of the shoulder including head restraint.
  • Keep mounting points close to shoulders.
No HANS... No Hybrid!

For decades, drivers who died of head injuries in crashes were thought to have hit the wall or some other object with their head and helmet. Then it became clear that basal skull fractures were often killing drivers. Once a harness system has been properly installed, drivers need a head restraint to prevent the head whip that leads to basal skull fractures.

  • Top speed does not always determine vulnerability to a head of neck injury.
  • Head whip is caused by the sudden change in velocity (Delta V).
  • Sled tests at Delta V of 42mph confirmed neck tension exceeded the threshold for a fatal injury (4,000 Newtons).


  • Quickly back racing after repairs to the car.
  • Back at work Monday morning.
  • Far less likely to pay large hospital bills or worse.
Seat, Surrounds, Nets Crucial in Side Impacts
  • Head restraints work in frontal impacts and up to 30 degrees in offset impacts.
  • Head surrounds and/or side nets protect head and neck in oblique, side impacts.
  • Seats with integrated shoulder supports are needed for side impact protection.

Without Side Net

  • Shoulder and pelvis control insufficient.
  • Head, neck vulnerable.

With Side Net

  • Head, neck, shoulder, pelvis controlled.
  • Driver is contained.
Head and Neck Restraints
  • Use SFI or FIA certified Head Restraint. Comfort is the deciding factor.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions, especially tether use.
  • Practice exiting cockpit quickly while wearing all your safety gear.
  • Review procedures for exiting when the car is resting upside down.
  • Inspect head restraint after crash for damage or send it to manufacturer.
  • Replace tethers after a heavy impact.
  • The belts go over the head restraint (unless using over/under belts).
  • Know the head restraint’s rectification date.
  • Neck collars are not head restraints, but can be worn with one.

Safety equipment, cars, tracks and speeds all continue to change over time. To keep up with the latest information always check with your trusted supplier. This is our first issue of 15 Minutes Can Save Your Life. We expect to update it occasionally as racing and safety standards evolve.

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