www.nurburgring.org.uk | Safety equipment
This page provides the rules for motorcyle protective gear, and provides advice on protective gear for car drivers.
For bikers, the deal is simple. The rules state only that 'full protective clothing' must be worn. Lots of bikers go out in Aerostitch-style jackets, so it doesn't need to be leathers, it just needs to be proper protective gear. Kevlar jeans would probably not be acceptable.
In a car, there are no rules beyond the normal road ones, but you can find some advice below.
Wearing a crash-helmet is not compulsory in a car, but is strongly recommended.
An Australian study concluded that 15% of those killed in car crashes would have survived had they been wearing a helmet. While it may not be very practical on the M25, there's no reason at all not to do it on the Ring.
I know of at least one crash where the driver was wearing a helmet and the passenger wasn't. The driver survived, the passenger died. Maybe that was coincidence, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.
In a car with a rollcage, a helmet is a must. Even when wearing a full harness, your head can easily hit the bar across the top of the door. Having done that while wearing a helmet, I would not like to think of what the outcome might have been had I not been wearing one.
There is also one very practical reason to take a helmet: many Ringers will not take passengers unless they wear a helmet.
It is a legal requirement in Germany to carry a first-aid kit, and everyone should do so anyway. While anything at all will do to stem blood in an emergency, an infected wound will delay recovery and can put someone at serious risk, so at a minimum you want to carry some sterile dressings to seal a wound.
First-aid kits are of limited use unless you have the skills to go with them, so I strongly recommend that everyone take at least emergency aid training (which takes just a few hours) and ideally a full first-aid course. If you go to the Ring regularly, it is a question of when rather than if you will need to apply those skills. See the first-aid page for details.
Being trapped in a burning car is one of the ultimate car-crash nightmates. A safety-belt cutter is a cheap thing that can save your life. Make sure it is secured somewhere you can reach it while wearing a seat-belt or harness.
A portable fire-extinguisher designed for car use can also save a life - and on a more mundane level can also save your car. We helped someone save their Golf by lending them a fire-extinguisher after we spotted flames coming from under the car on Dottinger-Hohe.
If you have a Dedicated Ring Toy (DRT), the chances are that you spend a fair amount of time at the Ring and thus are more likely to have a crash at some point. The following safety mods are the key ones I would recommend ...
Roll-cage. Modern passenger cells are very strong, but there is only so much force they can withstand. In a high-speed rollover, the roof can be crushed. I've seen it several times in Ring crashes. A rollcage is probably the single most important safety mofification you can make to a track car. As above, if you fit a cage, you must wear a helmet at all times - so this os probably not a practical mod for a road car unless you can fit a removeable cage.
Race seats and harnesses. Two mods that go hand-in-hand. A race seat will hold you more securely in place when experiencing sideways G-forces, but more importantly has the slots to enable you to fit a 6-point harness. Properly fitted and tightened, this will hold you tightly in your seat even if the car rolls.
This qualification is important: a harness is only effective if you pull it almost uncomfortably tight. It is also important to ensure that the fastening point of a harness is roughly at shoulder height, and that the webbing run-outs are as short as possible, as they will stretch under load.
A 6-point harness is much safer than a 4-point one. With a 4-point, the harness can ride up your body in a crash, and all the forward forces can go onto your abdomen, crushing your vital organs. A 6-point holds the harness down.
A harness with folding road seats and mounting points at floor level is positively dangerous: in a rollover, the seat is likely to break, putting all of the force through your now-unprotected back. A broken back is the likely result. If you have road seats, stick to seat-belts, perhaps supplemented with a CG-Lock to help keep them tight.
Plumbed-in extinguisher. A portable extinguisher has very limited capacity, and relies on you being able to reach and activate it after a crash. A plumbed-in system will automatically direct jets of foam to both the cabin and the engine by simply twisting a handle.
For local companies who can fit safety equipment to your car, see the Repairs and Garaging pages.
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