/ Why don't we wear helmets when travelling by car?

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BruceWee - on 19 May 2013
Just wondering why I've never heard anyone recommending helmet use for car occupants. Just been doing some reading:

http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=41121

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2012/04/02/forget-football-car-crashes-are-the-leading-caus...

The first link says that 30% of serious injuries amongst teens involved in car accidents are head injuries. The second says that 40 to 60% of ALL mild traumatic brain injuries are caused by car accidents.

Given the fact that people get very worked up about wearing helmets during climbing and cycling why does no one even suggest wearing helmets in cars?
DancingOnRock - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: Because you're looking at the statistics wrongly.

What are the chances of being involved in an accident that is likely to cause brain injury?

Not.

What causes most brain injuries?

The two are completely different questions.

The whole argument is skewed further by the question:

What are the chances of being in an accident resulingt in brain injury when cycling?
No one knows that answer, but they do know the likelihood of brain injury if you are involved an accident. Again this skews the perception of the danger to cyclists.

The danger presented to seconders from loose material being dislodged by a leader should be pretty obvious.
tlm - on 19 May 2013
lfenbo - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: same thought occurred to me about pedestrians
elsewhere on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:
because the feeling of invulnerability induced might result in worse driving
mark s - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: chiropractors? well we all know everything they say is worth listening to.
mypyrex - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: Interesting point. Even in "light" aircraft(trainers) service pilots are obliged to wear helmets and many civilian pilots do likewise.

I know from experience that turbulence whilst airborne can result even in slight "knocks" with the solid bits of the aircraft. For turbulence substitue "car out of control".

I suspect that the wide range of occupants head sizes likely to be in any one car (would the driver or each occupant be responsible for supplying a helmet) might preclude any meaningful legislation.
cuppatea on 19 May 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
> because the feeling of invulnerability induced might result in worse driving

This happened when ABS was first introduced leading to an increase in insurance premium for cars that had it fitted.
mrbird - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: Why doesnt everybody wear helmets, all the time?
OwenM - on 19 May 2013
In reply to mrbird:
> (In reply to BruceWee) Why doesnt everybody wear helmets, all the time?

I'd go even further, why don't we all just hide under the bed and never ever come out, that would be much safer.


mrbird - on 19 May 2013
In reply to OwenM: That sounds nice and safe. And seatbelts on all chairs. Including the toilet.
elsewhere on 19 May 2013
Old joke - ban seat belts and put a sharp spike on the steering wheel to improve road safety.
spearing05 - on 19 May 2013
In reply to mrbird: I may be wrong but the wording of the OP kind of suggests an issue with people 'banging on about helmets whilst climbing/cycling'rather than a desire to see them worn in cars.
spearing05 - on 19 May 2013
In reply to spearing05: Paraphrasing slightly there . . .
Jim C - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: Some car drivers of course are required to wear a helmet, and in the light of the recent incident where a cyclist was deemed to be partially responsible for their own death for not wearing one then it is arguable that the same could be said for ALL car drivers.

I am not in favour myself, but the someone somewhere in a car had died due to not having a helmet, it stands to reason, or some types of drivers would not be obliged to wear them.
Neil Williams - on 19 May 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

I've smacked my head on the overhead in a plane (Fokker 50) during turbulence. Since then my seatbelt stays on as recommended.

Neil
Alex Slipchuk on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: maybe the motor industry's requirement to sell cars based on coolness and cock length would contradict any improvements in safety helmets would bring.

Would it not be better to simply limit all cars on uk roads to the current max speed of 70mph, my previous works vehicle was and it certainly curtailed non essential overtaking.

If all vehicles on the road were limited to 70, then there would be less aggressive driving, less wastage on fuel. In fact the only people to suffer would be maniacs and the motor industry who may find it difficult to sell 5litre v10 saloons or twin turbocharged road legal rally cars.
BruceWee - on 19 May 2013
In reply to spearing05:
> (In reply to mrbird) I may be wrong but the wording of the OP kind of suggests an issue with people 'banging on about helmets whilst climbing/cycling'rather than a desire to see them worn in cars.

Yeah, that's what I've always had a problem understanding. Anytime I've seen a helmet debate, whether on the internet or in real life, some people become really upset. Insults start flying and sometimes even threats of violence (oh the irony).

Many people take an 'I don't care what you do' attitude but it's inevitably followed by 'but you're a f*cking IDIOT and your going to die and your kids are going to be orphans and it's all going to be your fault because you're selfish and stupid and an arsehole. Have you even thought about the poor people who have to scrape up your brains? Have you? HUH?'

Or words to that effect.

Surely if helmets on bikes and while climbing get you that upset you would at least be slightly in favour of helmets for other activities that result in head injuries.

In 2011 there were 25,000 killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads. 61% of these were car occupants. Assuming that the first link (that said 30% of serious injuries are the result of head trauma) can be applied to the UK by my calculations that's 4,500 deaths and serious injuries that could potentially be prevented or mitigated each year. And that's not even taking into account the 180,000 people who were slightly injured.

What I'm really interested in is why people get very upset about some things but not others despite the subjects being very similar.
DancingOnRock - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: I suspect you will find that although the primary cause of death is given as head injury, there would be serious internal injuries due to blunt force trauma that would still have lead to death.

I assume that the crash test people have done thousands of simulations to determine if helmets would save people, in the same way that seatbelt tests were carried out.

The advent of multiple airbag systems would seem to eliminate the need for helmets in modern cars anyway.
Mike Stretford - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:
> (In reply to spearing05)
> [...]
>
> Yeah, that's what I've always had a problem understanding. Anytime I've seen a helmet debate, whether on the internet or in real life, some people become really upset. Insults start flying and sometimes even threats of violence (oh the irony).
>

I've got to say you're by far the most upset I've seen anyone while reading internet based helmet discussions.

Anyway back to your original questions. The reason I wear a helmet sometimes for biking or climbing is to protect my head from relatively minor impacts which can be quite unpleasant (and very occasionally fatal) eg falling off bike, hitting head against rock in a fall. I'm well aware that in a high speed collision, eg head on impact with car, the helmet wouldn't do much.

In a car any collision wich threatened my head would be at high speed and I judge the sort of helmet which would help eg a formula 1 type, to be too inconvenient considering the risk of that happening.

Simples.

andymac - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:

like the man says; 'Simples'.

Load of nonsense.
BruceWee - on 19 May 2013
In reply to Papillon:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
> [...]
>
> I've got to say you're by far the most upset I've seen anyone while reading internet based helmet discussions.
>

Really? Is this your first day on the internet?
Mike Stretford - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:
> (In reply to Papillon)
> [...]
>
> Really?

yes

> Is this your first day on the internet?

no
mrbird - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: Im not upset, I understand what youre saying and dont mean to be a dick. I just wonder how far hse in general will go...
Orgsm on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:

Because helmets in cars are not justified on the grounds of health and safety, which is also the same for cyclists.

Did you know that the risk of serious brain injury when cycling is the same as the risk when getting in and out of the bath. Don't see anyone recommending helmets for the bath.
wintertree - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:

It has been said that if we wanted to prevent head injuries - especially amongst younger adults - that it would make more sense to wear a helmet when out drinking than when out cycling. However, there is not the perception of risk when going out drinking, and a lot of helmet use is driven by perception of risk, and no doubt the same applies to driving.

If you want to move from perception of risk to serious mitigation of risk then you need a proper helmet like one in motor racing or for motorbikes, and then you would look like a bit of a tool! Might as well get bucket seats and a 4-point racing harness as well...
stevieb - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:
Because the loss of peripheral vision would result in more crashes
BruceWee - on 19 May 2013
In reply to stevieb:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
> Because the loss of peripheral vision would result in more crashes

I always thought that argument had been put to bed when motorcycle laws were introduced. Open face helmets wouldn't affect peripheral vision.

My mountain bike helmet on the other hand caused me to crash when I didn't see a low hanging branch. Why do they have peaks, anyway?


Oceanrower - on 19 May 2013
In reply to mrbird:
> (In reply to BruceWee) I just wonder how far hse in general will go...

Nowhere near cars, I can assure you. Unless they're copny cars maybe. The HSE only has jurisdiction within the workplace.
mack - on 19 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:
> (In reply to stevieb)
> [...]
>
> I always thought that argument had been put to bed when motorcycle laws were introduced.

We bikers aren't strapped to a chair.. we can move our shoulders enabling us to move our heads to get peripheral vision.. If you tried this at a junction, in a car, you would smack your head against the side window.. LOSS of peripheral vision. There are far too many knobs on the roads, giving them a handicap would make things much worse..

> Open face helmets wouldn't affect peripheral vision.

Never worn an open-faced helmet but probably still blinkered to some extent. Maybe other bikers could say yay or nay on this one but I would imagine the same scenario as above.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Ridge - on 19 May 2013
In reply to Oceanrower:
> (In reply to mrbird)
> [...]
>
> The HSE only has jurisdiction within the workplace.

Don't go bringing facts into this. Any fule no that they ban conkers and make everyone put up notices that say 'Beware of this Notice'.
Neil Williams - on 19 May 2013
In reply to Ridge:

The HSE have some lovely mythbusting stuff on their website as well.

Neil
chrisbaggy - on 19 May 2013
In reply to mark s:
chiropractors? well we all know everything they say is worth listening to.

Do you listen to and abide by everything your doctor or dentist says?
Oceanrower - on 19 May 2013
In reply to Ridge:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
> [...]
>
> Don't go bringing facts into this. Any fule no that they ban conkers and make everyone put up notices that say 'Beware of this Notice'.

Sorry. <hangs head in shame>
deepsoup - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> The HSE have some lovely mythbusting stuff on their website as well.

But they do protest a bit too much. They may not have (for example) "banned ladders", but they have certainly played their part in creating a culture of overzealous elf'n'safety.
ben b - on 20 May 2013
In reply to deepsoup: On the other hand just look at societies without any enforced workplace safety rules - given the choice between mining in China, Peru, and Australia for instance I think I know where I would rather be. HSE have been rightly criticised at times but overall falls (no pun intended) in occupational accidents are still of benefit to society overall, I suspect.

Using HSE as a "Jobsworth's Charter" on the other hand is particularly poor. Some people are lazy, officious and unpleasant: they do well from ill conceived legislation that enables them to bully others.

Interestingly universal accident compensation in NZ means that we can basically hire anything we fancy and give it a whirl, from giant chainsaws to ditch diggers, without much HSE involvement (as I mentioned to my father-in-law when he got the metal cherry picker cage stuck in our power lines last year). Bloody good fun though :-)

b
spearing05 - on 20 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: I was knocked of my bike as child by a car that pulled out of a side road into me - broken front tooth, I came off at speed when a pedestrian holding a bad over his head coz of the rain ran out in front of me- unconscious for 10 mins or so, split my helmet. I've been knocked off my motor biker by a car that ran straight in the back of me at a junction and smacked my head on the deck.I've been hit on the helmet by falling ice/rock and seen even bigger lumps fly past.

In approximately 250000 miles and thousands if hours (considerably more than spent cycling or climbing though motorbiking come a close second) of driving I've never banged my head. Now the above is purely anecdotal but to my mind answers the question.
skog - on 20 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:

I wonder what sort of increase we'd see in whiplash injury frequency and severity, if drivers and/or passengers in cars were required to wear helmets (adding weight to the load supported by their neck)?
Neil Williams - on 20 May 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

And, to play a bit of devil's advocate, they have saved a load of lives that would have been lost in work accidents caused by unscrupulous employers cutting corners.

Neil
Scarab9 - on 20 May 2013
In reply to skog:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
>
> I wonder what sort of increase we'd see in whiplash injury frequency and severity, if drivers and/or passengers in cars were required to wear helmets (adding weight to the load supported by their neck)?

thought this when started reading and am surprised it didn't get mentioned further up!
Tricky Dicky - on 20 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee: I used to work with a chap who wore a full face helmet whilst driving, although he also used to wear a radiographers lead apron to 'protect himself from the radiation given off my speed cameras'.
BruceWee - on 20 May 2013
In reply to skog:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
>
> I wonder what sort of increase we'd see in whiplash injury frequency and severity, if drivers and/or passengers in cars were required to wear helmets (adding weight to the load supported by their neck)?

I'm pretty sure that argument was used against motorcycle helmets as well.

skog - on 20 May 2013
In reply to BruceWee:

I think car seat belts change the situation a bit!

It wasn't an argument against, by the way, just something that needs to be factored in before saying that wearing helmets would make driving safer. I don't know how it balances out - do you?

It'd probably be a lot safer to require all non-driver seats in the car to face backwards, if we're going down this route... (actually, that'd probably be a lot safer anyway).
DancingOnRock - on 20 May 2013
In reply to skog:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
>
> I wonder what sort of increase we'd see in whiplash injury frequency and severity, if drivers and/or passengers in cars were required to wear helmets (adding weight to the load supported by their neck)?

I knew someone who was killed in an accident because they had fitted a 5 point harness. Broke their neck instantly.
deepsoup - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> And, to play a bit of devil's advocate
I was already doing that. ;o)
deepsoup - on 20 May 2013
In reply to skog:
> I wonder what sort of increase we'd see in whiplash injury frequency and severity, if drivers and/or passengers in cars were required to wear helmets (adding weight to the load supported by their neck)?

Expressed as a percentage of the increase when people realised they could claim compo for it and have insurance companies chuck free money at them without any attempt to challenge the claim? ;o)
rallymania - on 20 May 2013
In reply to skog:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
>
> I wonder what sort of increase we'd see in whiplash injury frequency and severity, if drivers and/or passengers in cars were required to wear helmets (adding weight to the load supported by their neck)?


i think in pretty much all forms of motor sport... drivers / riders / codrivers etc all wear a HANS (or similar) device so a helmet isn't enough any more anyway :-)

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