Even if you are not a fan of Formula One racing, there is a good chance you would have been impressed by a recent incident that could have ended tragically – but did NOT due to advancements in safety technology. A December 6, 2020 article published by Wired magazine covered the racing event, which erupted into mayhem within the first few turns. In short, during the frenzied push to gain position on the opening lap, the tires of two cars slightly bumped at speeds exceeding 135 miles per hour. One vehicle careened away, slamming into a barrier positioned to absorb the energy of a violent impact. The race car and driver exploded into flames.
Mere seconds later, the driver emerged from the fiery vortex and walked away – mostly unscathed, but for some scrapes and minor burns. Those who witnessed or viewed the video were shocked; the result was no surprise to those who understand the science behind safety measures used in racing. The incident highlights four different technologies designed to minimize the effects of fatal and injury causing accidents, including:
Halo: This device is a padded ring that is positioned above the driver, which protects the head, neck, and spine as it absorbs the impact of the crash. The Halo is a relatively new technology that gained widespread use, and it is required by some racing circuits after the tragic death of popular racer Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Deceleration at a rate of 25 times that of gravity, combined with the weight of the helmet he was wearing, caused Earnhardt to suffer fatal trauma to his brain, neck, vasculature, and spine.