Off-roading can be rough, both for you and your truck. The last thing you want is a head injury from bouncing around inside while negotiating tough obstacles. You protect your off-road truck with specialty parts like differential covers, front truck bumpers, and other heavy duty equipment, right? If you do more than just basic trails, you may want to invest in some good head protection.
Choosing the Right Helmet
There is a large selection of motorsport safety helmets available to choose from depending on how you use your off-road truck. Choosing the right helmet is essential to get the protection you need, just as it is when choosing the right bumpers and other heavy duty equipment.
Your selection should be made by factoring in a number of important details that include the following:
- Helmet Design - Well-designed helmets use multi-density padding specifically arranged to protect vulnerable head and face areas against both high and low-velocity impacts. Better helmets with full face shields offer fire and respiratory protection as well. Effective design is an essential factor in providing a high degree of protection, while also allowing for good visibility, ventilation, comfort, and correct fit.
- Helmet Weight - Heavier helmets are actually more dangerous, as they produce more inertia before an impact. Lightweight helmets are more safe, with 3 pounds found to be an ideal weight to provide necessary protection with lower mass and inertia.
- Helmet Material - The best helmets are made of fiberglass, carbon fiber, or similar composites. These materials are very strong like steel bumpers and able to withstand impacts at various velocities while still being lightweight. Cheaper, less durable, and less protective helmets are commonly made from polycarbonate and plastic, both of which will easily crack or break and should be avoided.
- Manufacturer Reputation - Considering the many details involved in creating a safe helmet, brand name and manufacturer reputation should be a prime factor for choosing helmets. Ones made by well-known companies with proven safety records are the best recommendation.
Safety Testing and Compliance
Helmet manufacturing is closely monitored by the FIA or the Federacion Internacionale de l’Automobile. This is the worldwide sanctioning organization that oversees and enforces safety gear requirements. There are a number of domestic safety organizations that rate and approve helmets and other safety equipment, including the SCCA, NHRA, SCORE, and the SFI Foundation.
For approval, helmets used in off-roading settings must meet a strict schedule of requirements pertaining to design, materials, manufacturing processes, fit, impact, fire and chemical resistance, and many other specifications.
What About Cost?
Motorsport safety helmets vary in cost, with prices spanning anywhere from under $50 to thousands of dollars. This is one time when cost dictates quality and protective ability. The best helmets are made using careful design, high-quality materials, and proven production techniques and have been safety tested and approved.
Cheaper helmets may fit the specifications for certain approvals; however, they are typically made using inferior materials, less expensive production methods, and just basic designs. This reduces the degree of protection they actually offer you. When it comes to helmets for off-road trucks, you get what you pay for.
If you do off-road racing or just enjoy testing yourself and your truck in challenging environments, you need a high-quality, approved safety helmet. Make sure you carefully consider the options so you invest in a helmet that offers the best protection based on your activities. Consider a helmet the equivalent of the front truck bumper you install to shield the front of your truck. Whether talking about a head injury or a smashed front grille and radiator, the best protection is using the right prevention!