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Author Topic: Escaping When Upside Down
Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Veteran Member

Region: NWR/Oregon; ICSCC
Car #: 70
Year : 1991
Posts: 1111
Status: Offline
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My son rolled his car yesterday, coming to a rest upside-down (ended my race real quickly when I saw that happen). He wasn't hurt, but he said, afterward, that the real terrifying part was when he realized the difficulty/impossibility of getting out of the car in anything like a hurry, while wearing a helmet and HANS, given the real possibility of fire when upside-down.

In an effort to perhaps plan a little for the possibility of finding myself in the same position some day, I'm interested in getting some thoughts from people who have been there and really do know the best way to do that.

Tom's Double O Verified Driver
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Region: Oregon
Car #: 00
Year : 1992
Posts: 294
Status: Offline
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I worry about getting out when the car is upside right and the door won't open(big people and little windows)

Upside down definitely creates a whole set of difficulties and I'm not sure of the answer. If the car is not on fire and I don't smell gas fumes I might wait for a corner worker. Case in point, David's car rolled into another car that was already upside down. If that driver was exiting the car when David's car struck the results could have been terrible.

Quick story from a buddy who rolled his car many years ago and stopped upside down. Everything was fine and he had no injuries. He was pretty far away from any corner workers so he wanted to let them know he was okay by getting out of the car. So the first thing he does is release the harness...he crashes down head first and breaks both collar bones.

-Tom

D Watts Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Just going in circles

Region: Neohio
Car #: 66
SMIM: dwatts66
Posts: 464
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Well, I unfortunately have the experience of being in an upside down racecar, albeit a rally car, somewhere in northern Michigan. First thing is to take a deep breath and take stock. SHUT OFF THE CAR! If you can reach the master switch, throw it. That should help lessen some fire causers. Wait until you hear no more cars crashing.

When you release the belts, you WILL fall on your head, no matter what...unless you can do a 1-handed handstand with you feet out in front of you. You might want to pull the quick release on your steering wheel. Once you land on your helmet (obviously leave it on until you fall on your head), you might want to take it off as it will bump into everything and it makes it easier to get out small openings. Remember that there are 4 exits: TWO side windows/doors, back window, and windshield. I suggest leaving your gloves on as their is often glass around.

It can be scary and frightening to be cramped upside down, but as long as you don't try to rush and takes some time to think about it, you will still fall on your head...at least you'll expect it.

--------------------
David Watts
GLDiv #66

Matt Johnson Verified Driver
Member

Region: Detroit
Car #: 73
Year : 1990
Posts: 385
Status: Offline
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My experience was that using an arm/elbow to do the sort of one handed hand stand that Dave described worked fairly well...

Oh, and scrape all the excess glass away from your landing zone before releasing the belts (mine was as the passenger in a non-racecar at a racetrack).

--------------------
Matt Johnson
1990 SM #73 - yet another red miata.

Wreckerboy Verified Driver
Member

Region: WDC
Car #: SSM 53 "Lola"
Year : 1990
Posts: 464
Status: Offline
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Practice, practice, practice. And when it finally happens, remember to take a deep breath, take stock, THINK, and then execute your plan, but expect Mr. Murphy to ride along.

I've been upside down (at the bottom of the hill at LRP), and did just as I planned: 1) release ISAAC, 2) brace against roof, 3) dump window net (which continues to hang there), 4) release belts, and 5) have terrifying moment when you *think* you are pinned in the car because you forgot to take the steering wheel off (Mr. Murphy came to visit). Thought my way through it and got out without drama.

Lessons for the future - turning off the car using that fancy ass kill switch I installed would have been nice.

Oh yes, one additional thought: If you are going to do something truly stoopid like trashing the car, do it directly in front of your wife as I did. It vastly simplifies the explanation process later on.

--------------------
Rob Myles
Hero To The Momentum Impaired

Jim Venable
Member

Region: NW
Year : 90
Posts: 54
Status: Offline
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Mark,

From the tone of your post it sounds like all is well with your son for which all of us are thankful.

Hopefully you don't mind but due to the number of corner workers who post on the conference site I copied your question there with hopes of hearing their perspective. The responses have been quite informative so you may want to check it out as well if you haven't.

As you probably now there is a incredible story of survival thread running now about a Miata that was engulfed in flames during last December's NASA 25 Hour race at Thunderhill. Below is the link to the original story. Definately worth takig the time to read.

"Nice Guy Jim Racing"

Jim Venable
Member

Region: NW
Year : 90
Posts: 54
Status: Offline
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Sorry. Here's the link.

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/fighting-fire/

"Nice Guy Jim Racing"

Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Veteran Member

Region: NWR/Oregon; ICSCC
Car #: 70
Year : 1991
Posts: 1111
Status: Offline
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Thanks, Jim. It's an interesting read on the Conference site. I'll continue to monitor it.

   

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