These days, helmets are an essential part of a skiing or riding kit. But despite the prevalence of helmets on the slopes, concerned moms still wonder: Does wearing a helmet increase the amount of risk that individuals undertake?
In the insurance world, adopting riskier, more aggressive behavior after acquiring a safety device is called “moral hazard.” That human behavior holds true across sports like football and hockey—put a helmet on, and the likelihood of tough play goes up.
Increase in assumed risk might be why multiple studies show that, despite more widespread helmet use, head injuries have not abated. Recent helmet technology, such as MIPS, which is designed to reduce the rotational impact of injuries, is tackling problems previously not considered by helmet manufacturers—evidence that there’s room for ingenuity even with the “brain bucket.”
Helmets, like airbags, serve an important purpose, but are by no means a cure-all. The bottom line, as suggested by researcher Dr. Jasper E. Shealy, who’s been studying snow safety for the past 40 years: ski and ride with a helmet on, but make decisions as if you’re going without one.