Racing Helmet Safety

Whether professional or amateur, racing helmet safety is important in motorsports.

Whether you are a professional or an amateur, racing helmets provide sophisticated, scientifically derived levels of head protection and safety for racers. This holds true for all participants in any kind of racing.

Function

Racing helmets absorb the impact when a racer is in a crash. The outer shell of the helmet might crack to dissipate this impact, but it is the shock-absorbing foam on the inside that does the bulk of the work. Visors on full-face helmets protect a racer’s eyes from debris, and in the case of open-wheel auto or motorcycle racing, from wind.

Standards

As of 2010, five racing helmet standards govern helmets sold in the U.S. and Europe. All helmets sold in the U.S. must meet Department of Transportation (DOT) standards but might also meet other criteria, including the rigorous Snell M2010 standard. In Europe (including the U.K.), the ECE 22-05 standard functions similarly to that of the DOT, while the SHARP and ACU five-star rating systems are only recognized in the U.K.

Considerations

While racing helmets may meet Snell standards, they are not required to do so by law. Because of different testing procedures and requirements, a racing helmet that meets one standard might not meet others. This is not necessarily indicative of lesser quality, and you should study these standards to learn what is being tested and how your safety is being ensured by these helmets.