Using a HANS device on Karts that have a seat belt


Our family have just getting into Kart and at this time just using rental Kart (SYKART and K1) for occasional track days. Initially, I am told that at the level of rental Kart performance, there is very little chance of serious injury, all that needed are just helmet. Then last week a friend spun out, hitting a wall, and broke 4 ribs. We also witnessed a head on full speed crash into a wall, the driver’s head hit the steering wheel and broke the face shield. This causes us to rethink about safety devices for use even with occasional track days. For sure we will be getting a rib protector, but also are looking hard at a neck brace. I have read many threads discussing kart neck brace, particularly two extremely well discussed threads on this forum. It seems for KART without seat belt, the data for neck brake use is inconclusive.

But for KART with seat belt, do you think it would be very helpful (at least not hurt) to use a HANS device, since just as in a race car, the body/torso is held in place by the belt, without the HANS, the head/neck will hyper-extended on impact. Would a HANS device at least does no harm in the case if a KART’s seat belt is not properly set-up, i.e not tight enough, or not anchor correctly?

Thanks so much for your time reading this and thought on using a HANS device with KART that have seat belt.

Well If there’s a way to use a hans device without anchor devices integral to the vehicle, that would sure work well. Bigger question is, who checked her harness?

Personally I think a hans is overkill on electric indoor rental karts. Assuming you use the harness properly. It’s supposed to be tight. There should be no possible way your chest could move that far forwards.

The K1 speed type karts are tanks with huge amounts of bumpers. The seat structure is also a rollbar. These are as safe as a kart as you can drive.

Finally: the ribs. Ribs and karts have a special and unique relationship. The problem with those electric karts is that the seats are likely far too large. In a side impact, the ribs are going to get slammed something good. Get a foam seat insert so that she can be snug and not sliding about.

what sort of belts are used in the rental karts? Almost all of the available Head and Neck Restraints (HNR) on the market are designed to work with 5-6 point harnesses. There’s one on the market that is designed to be used with a 3-point belt:

You’ll also want to consider the angle of the seats in the rental kart and if it aligns appropriately with the HNR design. Also, any true HANS brand device won’t protect against side or angle impacts on the neck. Some like NecksGen will help with angles/offset crashes.

As pointed out since the rental seats likely aren’t tight to you, wear a rib protector to help protect if you can’t put any sort of insert/foam in there to take up the extra space.

Pretty sure K1 seatbelts are one over each shoulder, meeting in crotch. So I guess that is 3 point.

K1 is 4-point belts. Across each side of the hip to meet in the middle, and one over each shoulder. Most head and neck restraints would work with it but really if you have the belts on correctly it shouldn’t need one. I’d be most concerned with side contact than a direct frontal hit.

Rib protectors will definitely help since you likely don’t fit the seats snugly and most injury comes from hitting the side of the seat, not so much the initial impact.

Bummer for your friend; I hope he’s recovering well! I agree with the others recommendations about using a seat insert and/or rib vest, just in case.

However, safety starts with having the nut behind the wheel screwed on correctly, That does not appear to be the case for the person who executed a full speed face plant into the wall. At rental tracks, there is a
w i d e range of skills, attitudes, and egos/agendas.

Since it sounds like you and your family are approaching karting as a craft to be learned, then I think if you’ve already taken a big step towards reducing the chance of having the type of an ‘off’ that a HANS device may or may protect you from.

Karts with seat belts and no roll cages give me the heebie-jeebies. (This is coming from someone who races the most ‘dangerous’ type of kart (- odless naked pre-95 kart). I have seen a fair few rental crashes with people wearing seat belts and restraints and it isn’t pretty one another kart rides up on them - the driver simply has no where to go.

That’s not to say I provide nothing other than anecdotal, but as you seem to be switched on with regard to that kind of thing it’s something you should certainly consider.

One other factor to consider… No disrespect intended towards K1speed and the like.:. It’s entertainment as opposed to a craft for a typical visitor. They are there to slide around, crash and have fun. Assume a corresponding lack of of awareness about, well, everything.
If you want your child to learn how to kart at an advanced level, you need to be looking at facilities that offer racing, coaching, etc.