Driving Suits and Helmets. Should we all be wearing them?

The question worth analyzing when driving a car, is whether all of us should be wearing safety suits. If you were on a motorcycle, you would be required to wear a helmet and if you were smart, you would wear a Kevlar body armor, steel toe boots and protective gloves.

In the early 1910s there had been a push requiring chin strapped helmets for general open air automobile. Almost all drivers and passengers wearing them, found it normal. The drivers would wear goggles, high boots, and warm thick attire. By the 1930s however, the use automobile drivers using helmets ceased, plus there has been a stand-down position of people wearing them. As of this day, dispite the excessive populations of automobile bodily injuries, there has been almost no discussion in those body suit protections. A matter of fact, no matter whether the automobile is large or small, and with automobiles getting faster and more powerful, there is still no discussion regarding wearing street helmets and body armor.

Dummy family votes for all automobile drivers to wearing helmets.

If a family of crash test dummies were asked about a need for helmets, goggles, fire and Kevlar protection I am sure they would all vote in favor for it. Their test results and pre-engineered impact studies that have everything to do with real life. They would also know, that if they had been wearing a helmet or Kevlar suits, they would increase survivability at least 100%. They also know that studies that they are involved in only reflects a very few number of conditions that might match an accident scenario. They also know that even the best engineered car is no match for a car just third larger moving towards them just before impact.

Ski outfit by Chanel with matching boots, skis, gloves.

So why are we not required to wear them? Obviously people die driving 70mph all the way down to as low as 30mph or less. Maybe we simply don’t have many options. Maybe we could make a move to propose that there is a practicality in wearing protection. As for a style conscience population, maybe we we can make it so people actually WANT to wear these suits. I mean.. look at a style for a Skier, Diver, Mountaineer, Biker, Motorcyclists, you can easily find style in those outfits. So much so, the markets for them are huge, in the billions of dollars. Each of their outfits offer a variety of sizes, shapes, textures, with matching appendages . There is color, with flared cuts and interesting material choices.

Modern Diver's outfit - gone is the thick black neoprene we all grew up with. .

Even more important is that they work with the elements. Protection from extreme elements and pretty much all issues related to activity you will be involved in. For example, if you were a mountaineer, you would need something to clip gear into a plus keep heat but release moisture so one can stay dry. Scuba divers also have the same issue, but no longer are the thick clunky black neoprene wetsuits. With new materials we now have the more advanced easier to see materials that wear better and retain temperatures. They are also designed to make them easier to get in and out as well.

Motorcyclists probably have the strongest industry of protective gear. Big name companies associated themselves with the bikes such as Harley Davidson, Ninja, Ducati and have got into the act selling just about everything under the sun related to bikes. Many bike riders are about being fashionable with an attitude, they actually look cool mounted in a open road position or taking that pitstop at a local gas station. The best part is that if they take a spill, they come out of it with much less damage than if they wore tee shirt and jeans.

This is no longer rocket science, we can see the motorcycle guys know all about bodily protection.

It never fails to amaze me to see that protection would be helpful, even in a large car. Maybe it is time that we take the bull by the horns and not wait for governmental regulation. Maybe we should not also wait till enough people start getting hurt. Maybe we can ask insurance companies to discount drivers if they are wearing outfits so they might have a fighting chance to reduce paying out so much money to the medical industry. The motorcyclist know something and we should realize we are driving around things that move just as fast, just as dangerous and simply not as protective as we are led to believe. Side impact and front impact are only part of the entire protection. Do our crash test dummy give test results to the part of the results that were not planned?

Automobile racers have been advancing on helmets, gloves, shoes and suits for years. The fact that someone racing has a way better chance of survival than some moderate accident on the freeway is a key clue in the whole idea.

Racing outfits have lots to do with fashion as with lots to do with protection and comfort. There is that main fact that some outfits are designed to work with the seat and and may even have ways to control temperature inside suits.

We look kind of cool.

The best thing is possibly to make a variety of different suits that could be a standard for the General Public. These suits would offer some protection for soft tissue damage, and do things to increase neck protection. There could also be a helmet offering protection from concussion or chin protection. Should there be a fire, the occupant wearing a fire suit, can have some precious seconds to get out of a serious problem without being burned alive. At this very time driving suits are not a fashion statement as one might find with skiing, mountaineering or diving. What is so ironic is that statistically driving is safer than all three.. An with all truth told, the driving suits are really for racing. They are nothing more than clumsy, scraping sounding zipper access outfits that seems to always be of man made polyester or nylon. They don’t do anything to body lines like a fashionably aware person might ask for.

The Vogue Racer

Yet.. they do work the best. If you are in an engulfed fire, you will want to be wearing one of these. The problem is that if was such a good idea, why do we never see anyone wearing these. Could the more casual aficionado have a cool looking fire suit with protection in seat belts wearing a helmet look just right? Does racing fashion as racing safety trickle down to the regular Joe going down the street. In a way.. if you did choose to wear a helmet while driving, could you in fact end up being pulled over by a police officer? If we give this challenge to designers to complete, could they actually come up with anything that might work on a day to day commuter aspect? Would you be able to get more than just primary color outfits.. could there be an interested option.

The designers at Porsche have clothing that looks and fits well. Unfortunately it does nothing in terms of protection, but I am sure it crossed their mind. Let us see if anything comes about and ask yourself if wearing a helmet around in daily commute traffic is really a worthy idea?


Tito Young



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s