From digest.v7.n330 Thu Sep 25 09:10:24 1997
From: James Moran <bavarian_at_geocities.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 07:45:35 -0400
Subject: re: helmets for driving school
The appropriate text should read "Snell M or SA rated helmet, 90 or newer."
This means an M-90 (motorcycle) helmet meets the requirement. However, an SA
(special applications; read, auto racing) is more appropriate for use in an
automobile. SA helmets are tested to slightly different standards for impact (a
roll-bar test is added) and have a fire-resistant liner. When you buy your
helmet you will find the 90 is an out-of-date rating, and 95 helmets are the
only ones avaiable.
As for open-faced, closed-face, or full-face, it is a matter of opinion and
preference, however (again!) some are better than others. Some definitions
Full face - A helmet that provides protection for the face via a chin enclosure
and a face sheild. The chin protection must meet the same standards as the rest
of the helmet, and the face shield is tested against projectiles. Obviously,
this is the most protective helmet.
Closed face - A helmet that provides partial protection for the face via a chin
enclosure. Again the chin protection must meet the same standard as the rest of
the helmet. No face shield is provided.
Open-faced - A helmet without any protection for the face. Therefore no chin
bar or face shield is provided. This type provides the least amount of
Now, as for which one is best - well, a helmet is only good if you wear it,
therefore you have to want to wear it, therefore it must be comfortable. That
being said, the most protection is provided by a full-face helmet. The experts
recommend a full-face helmet with as small an eye port as is comfortable. The
smaller the eye-port the less chance of something intruding into the helmet.
And they recommend keeping the face shield on the helment - even in the car.
When you spin (or worse) lots of dust and debris gets kicked up and thrown into
If you want a real-life recommendation - check out what the pro's are using.
Indy and F1 drivers use very light helmets (lighter helmets don't put as much
force on the body in an accident - F=ma) that have very small eye ports. NASCAR
drivers are using full-face helmets more and more.
When you buy a helmet, go to a race equipment supply shop. These people will
know the differences between helmets and the proper fitting technique. You will
need to try on different helmets to see which one fits you best. Fit is very
important. Also, bring everything you will be wearing when you drive - I mean
things like glasses, sunglasses, toupee', etc. If you buy a balaclava - test
helmets with that. Also, try on the helmet and then get into your car. Some
sit a little taller on your head, so check out the headroom clearance. The
helmet should be a little tight, but with no pressure points. It will loosen a
little with use, but you don't want it sliding around on your head.
Finally, get a helmet support. This is a foam doughnut or horseshoe shaped
object that goes around your neck below the helmet. It limits the travel of the
helmet in the event of an accident and thereby reduces the strain on your neck.
For more information about helmets and the Snell Memorial Foundation's
certification process visit:
And as far as that eensy-weensy chance of not liking it, a snowball has a better
chance in hell.
> I'll be attending my first driving school come mid-October and had a
> question about the requirement of a "Snell 90 helmet or newer." Is any
> helmet that meets the 1990 Snell guidelines okay, i.e., automobile (SA) or
> motorcycle (M)? Are the full face ones in general preferred?
> I'm trying to find someone I know to borrow one for my first event, just in
> the eensy-weensy chance I don't like it and never attend another school.
> Plus, the holidays may be a more lucrative...ah, I mean, appropriate time
> of the year to acquire one....
> Until next time...
> 1990 E34 535i, 5-speed
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