A Thorough Look at the Correct Fitment of a Race Harness and HANS Device

Jen Hogan has done some great research into the correct fitment of a race harness and HANS device and has some very interesting, and extremely useful findings to share with us here.

If you are interested in competing in a sporting event in your Lotus, or are just interested in good set up and safety, take a few minutes to read through her article and consider the things she has learned.

By, and thanks to, Jen Hogan

Race Harness Fitment and HANS Frontal Head Restraints: Did You Know?

The following 15-minute video on setting up your race harness and/or HANS frontal head restraint is a must watch. It will shock you!

We bolt in a race harness and may use a HANS frontal head restraint (neck brace), but are we fitting and using them correctly?

Recently, I noticed that the harness in my Elise had expired, so I decided to start researching suitable options for its replacement. For those that don’t know me, I’ve been doing the odd CSCA rounds on and off for the past fifteen years, been a member of CLA since before I was born, raced off road motorcycles for fifteen years and worked in the motorcycle industry for over ten years including selling motorcycle neck braces.

I’m also 5’2″, suffer from stumpy leg syndrome, and am the daughter of past and current CLA committee members Maurice and Anne Blackwood. So, you would think that I would have some sort of idea about harness fitment and HANS frontal head restraints. This video made me think harder about the setup in my Elise.

What did I notice? I had the original Elise 111S seats in the car with an expired six-point harness that was bolted to the harness bar. The harness was sitting on the shoulders of the seats instead of on my shoulders because the seats were taller than me. The pelvis straps were bolted to the very back of the seat’s sliding rails so the pelvis straps were sitting too high and the crutch straps were hanging onto the seat instead of hanging onto me. At the time this setup was installed, it was installed to suit multiple drivers of different sizes.

The most important things I learnt from this video? Stop the Pelvis. Stop the Chest. Stop the Neck.

  • The Pelvis is the strongest bone to which stopping the pelvis reduces load on your collarbones and neck
  • Pelvis straps should be -45 degrees to -80 degrees from horizontal to lay flat across your pelvis and be 1 to 2 inches below your navel
  • The more the pelvis moves, the greater the load on the chest and neck, and the higher the risk of shoulder straps slipping off
  • Use a six-point harness to “keep the spine in line” and reduce motion of the pelvis which then reduces motion of the chest and neck
  • A five-point harness (single crutch strap) can cause injury to the sternum or male organs in a crash
  • Shoulder straps should be mounted to the car within 0 to -20 degrees from the top point of the shoulder to the car to hold you in correctly without compressing your spine in a crash
  • 2” belts are snugger fit across the pelvis for better retention and possibly a better fit with a head restraint / HANS frontal head restraint.
  • For decades, drivers who died of head injuries in crashes were thought to have hit the wall or other objects with their head and helmet. Then it became clear that basal skull fractures were often killing drivers. A neck brace is designed to reduce whip lash that leads to basal skull fractures

After watching this video and with the help from David Mackie, I took my Elise to Simply Sports Cars and had two Corbeau seats installed that have harness holes as well as a new frontal head restraint friendly six-point harness that wraps around me perfectly.

Just sitting in the car, I can feel a significant difference in the way that the seats and harness both work together to hold me in. All straps are sitting at suitable angles that now make each of the harness straps sit in the correct positions. Now it’s time to shop for a HANS frontal head restraint and mount it to my helmet correctly.

Is it time to review your seat, harness, helmet and frontal head restraint status?

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