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How to choose a Head and Neck Restraint

FIA 8858-2010 and SFI 38.1 rated Head and Neck Restraints come in a variety of shapes, sizes and costs. Which one is right for you? Most people choose the HANS device. It is simple to use and sells for a reasonable price. But, choosing the right one can be confusing. There are the Ultra, HANS 3 and Sport 2 models and these are all 20-degree devices. The Adjustable model works between 10- and 40-degrees. They all come in medium and large.

Simply put, you are paying extra for reduced weight. The Ultra device is significantly lighter than the Sport 2 and Adjustable. The HANS 3 is close in weight to the Ultra at a lower price. All devices carry a FIA 8858-2010 certification (Quick Click tethers carry an SFI certification).

20-degree models fit most drivers in most seats. However, if you have a headrest that angles forward like the Kirkey Intermediate Road Race seat or if you have a larger chest, you might find the Adjustable model works better. Formula car drivers and others that have layback seating positions should also choose the Adjustable.

When you sit in the race car with all your equipment on, with the HANS attached to the helmet and you find that you are looking at your feet instead of through the windshield, chances are that the HANS device is conflicting with the headrest. If the top of the HANS device is hitting the top of the headrest, then you need you need to adjust to a greater angle. Go from a 20-degree adjustment to a 30-degree adjustment. If you find the bottom of the HANS is hitting the bottom of the headrest, then you need a device with a lesser angle. Go from a 30-degree adjustment to a 20-degree adjustment. The Adjustable device eliminates the need to decide the angle needed. You can adjust it to fit the seat you are driving in after purchase. If you hop from car to car, you can purchase only one device and adjust it for each situation.

Note: The Adjustable device takes about 10 minutes to adjust from one angle to another angle.

The part of the HANS device behind the helmet should not contact the seat. It should be parallel to the back of the helmet and to the headrest.

The choice between a medium and a large is pretty simple. If your neck is 16-1/2" or larger, get a large size. If smaller, between 14" and 16-1/2", get a medium. The size will not determine safety, it will only determine comfort.

If you prefer a Simpson Head and Neck Restraint, the Hybrid Pro or Hybrid Sport are the most popular. The Sport is the same as the Hybrid Pro except heavier. Again, you are paying for less weight. With these devices you have only 3 options: Size, Tether Type and SAS Option.

Size is determined by your chest size. Measure your chest diameter (with driving suit on) and then pick the size range that covers your measurement.

You can choose fixed or sliding tethers. Most drivers choose sliding, although this option does not give you much advantage over the fixed tethers (compared to the HANS device sliding tethers). Simpson offers a EZ Slide tether upgrade that works much better, but this is a after-the-purchase-only upgrade. Call Simpson.

The Seat Belt Anchor System (SAS) used to come standard on these devices. This incorporates 2 extra straps that connect to the harness (similar to how arm restraints attach). Simpson now states that these straps are unnecessary to pass the SFI testing. The device is simpler to use without them, however, I have found that the device rides up on your chest without them.

The advantage to the Hybrid device (not to be confused with the Hybrid Pro) is it is also FIA approved. It is larger and requires a seat insert for it to be comfortable.