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Title: Safety in a race car
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drscope
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From: USA
Registered: 07/24/2008
Time spent: 51553 hours

(Date Posted:05/29/2014 4:31 PM)
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Safety

Safety in a race car is the art of protecting the human occupant, at whatever cost to the car. Designing the car to be damaged minimally while hindering driver safety is definitely the wrong approach.

So how do we protect the driver? Well first we need to consider the basic physiological weak points of the human body.

Diagram of frequently injured skeletal areas

The diagram above shows that pretty much any part of the body exposed to the chassis of the race car is at risk. Injuries occur because the body sustains impacts beyond the G (gravities) level that it can sustain.

The brain is particularly susceptible to injury, because it is really just a soft tissue mass stored inside a very solid bone container, the skull. The key to avoiding injury in the brain is to avoid instantaneous deceleration of the skull. That is, when the skull strikes something hard, it decelerates instantaneously. The brain inside unfortunately keeps on moving, causing head trauma.

Neck and spinal injuries also present a serious threat to life and career. These "Connector" type elements in our body are flexible and stretchable, to a point, and can sustain tremendous G loads before breaking. However, depending on angle of impact, they can break rather easily.

Other bone injuries (breakages) are not as life-threatening or career ending, but still are to be prevented. The bones in our arms, legs and spine are designed to be stressed in tension and compression along their length. In the case of impacts they are often stressed in shear or bending, and therefore snap relatively easily.

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Mother Nature is a Mean, Evil Bitch

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