If you remember Stan Fox flying through the air at Indy (95?) with most of
the tub ripped away, you can clearly see he has his arms crossed and
holding onto the shoulder belts.
I have a friend that crashed his Comp eliminator Roadster (sorry Drag
Racing reference)and lost fingers and portions of his hands as his arms
flailed while barrell rolling 8 or 9 times. He had arm restraints but they
still allowed too much movement in a open car.
My dad always drilled me to hold onto the wheel tightly, but to maintain
flexed elbows (never lock your arm straight out) when I first started
racing carts and then drag cars. His view was this was far easier to do
than crossing the arms. He did point out that the open wheel drivers had
to learn to cross arms, because the risk there was much higher that you
could be injured from the sudden rotation of the steering wheel.
Comparing the two techniques, I would say that holding onto the steering
wheel is easier and more intuitive. In autocross, the risk of hitting a
solid object with the front tires should be very low. When I hear about a
rollover the thing I worry about most is the drivers arm going out the
window. I was surprised that autocrossers run with the drivers side window
down. That is illegal for all classes in NHRA drag racing. If there is no
drivers side window, you must run a window net in a full bodied car.
| FWIW, at my road racing drivers school they taught us to let go of the
| wheel, cross your arms and grab your shoulder straps just before
| impact. Not that I remembered any of it when I went off in T12 at Road
| America. I think the idea is to save your thumbs in case the front
| wheels get jammed in a different direction and the steering wheel gets
| spun violently.
| Jeff Cashmore