It's common for people to consider the head and neck safety device, or HANS device, a millennial item, something developed ten years ago or so. But it was actually conceived after an accident in 1981 and the first prototype was donned in 1986. It sold only sporadically throughout the 90s, but after Dale Earnhardt died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500 – coincidentally, of the same injury that lead to the HANS device's creation – it went from oddity to obligation in every major racing series.

Car and Driver looks at the physical numbers behind the device: in a 40g head-on collision, a HANS device can reduce total neck load by about 75 percent, to less than half the force of the injury threshold. That's not bad for a one-pound contraption made of carbon fiber, padding and a fabric-and-polyester strap.

Click here to check out the C/D piece, and follow the jump for some enlightening visuals on just what the HANS device can do. There's a video of a test crash with and without the device fitted, as well as the different kinds available and the story behind them.









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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      Autothoughts
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is what NHL players need to help prevent concusions.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Autothoughts
        [blocked]
          Autothoughts
          • 3 Years Ago
          Yes, "concussions". Sorry I did not spell check my one sentence.
        Kris
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Autothoughts
        This won't stop them from banging their heads rams.
      Alex Butti
      • 3 Years Ago
      Excellent device. Excellent engineering. I bought myself the carbon version last year for my track days, and would feel uncomfortable at the track without one.
      camaroz1985
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm ordering mine in the next couple weeks. An SFI 38.1 device is now required for SCCA club racing.
      snap_understeer_ftw
      • 3 Years Ago
      not a single mention of Jim Downing or Dr Hubbard, the Americans behind the creation of the HANS? I will probably be shunned for pointing out that although the HANS is a fantastic device, truthfully, it sucks in side crashes. There are much better devices for such instances which, to be fair, are more common motorsports incidents than head-on crashes (where the HANS shines, and other devices). That being said, I won't go on track without proper safety equipment and HANS in a side impact is MUCH better than no HANS in a side impact......but I would still ideally rock an ISAAC or a DEFNDER (no typo there) or, if I was instructing, an R3 Hybrid Pro
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wouldn't race without one.
      RodRAEG
      • 3 Years Ago
      I want this in my car. No, seriously.
      DrEvil
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Hans device was invented prior to Dale Sr.'s fatal accident. It was just mandated in autosports after that accident.
        dukeisduke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DrEvil
        Earnhardt refused to wear the HANS device, and spurned it. Once, after making a sarcastic comment about the device, he said that drivers would next tie turpentine rags around their ankles, so "...the sugar ants wouldn't bite their candy a$$es."
          snap_understeer_ftw
          • 3 Years Ago
          @dukeisduke
          irony and karma are fickle bitches, no?
          Pj Taintz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @dukeisduke
          It was all a part of the times, Fighter pilots didnt like wearing safty gear either. I was a huge fan of his, and its a shame that he could have been saved except for his brash nature. He also wore an open face helmet his entire career as well which was outlawed after the wreck as well
        Steve
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DrEvil
        pretty sure it says that in the story?
      Nyagah Mbae
      • 3 Years Ago
      The military have been wearing HANS for as long as I can remember
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