Nobody chooses to be in a rollover, except perhaps at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in Westhampnett, U.K.
The motor sports exhibition, held annually since 1993, features a so-called tumbling car positioned on a rig that turns it 360 degrees, simulating a vehicle overturning. Festival attendees can get in the car, fasten their seatbelt and experience the sensation of being in a rollover accident.
“Being upside down in a car, or rolling over several times, is hopefully a situation most drivers are unlikely to have been in before,” says Neil Worth, road-safety officer for GEM Motoring Assist, a driver-based road-safety association that is co-sponsoring the car’s debut appearance at Goodwood. “The main purpose of this is to let them find out for themselves just how vital a standard three-point seatbelt is in providing them with effective protection in a collision.
“My first ride in the car last year was a real eye-opener,” Worth says in a news release. “I was in the driver’s seat, hanging upside down, with nothing but the seatbelt to keep me in position, then the car started to spin. Several revolutions later I emerged, a little dizzy but otherwise unharmed. It certainly reminded me that seatbelts really do save lives.
“By putting visitors into this situation, where they can feel what it would be like if they were to roll a car, and to appreciate how a seatbelt looks after you, we can really start to get an understanding of why cars have these safety features, and why the law says you must wear a seat belt,” says Worth, whose organization is presenting the tumbling car along with the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.
Volvo introduced the standard three-point seatbelt as we know it today in Sweden in 1959. It never was patented and subsequently was offered to other automakers for free.
An estimated 95% of U.K. drivers wear seatbelts but some 2 million drivers and passengers disregard the law and do not, GEM Motoring Assist says.
The 4-day Goodwood Festival of Speed began June 29.