Dumb question about racecar drivers

Was watching a NASCAR race on Sunday. There are cameras inside each car, so you can see the driver up close.

I noticed the driver never turns his/her head. They appear to just stare straight ahead.

When I’m in heavy traffic, I am always looking around to see who’s in my blind spot. So how does a NASCAR driver know who’s in their blind spot, who is behind them, who is beside them, etc.? Is there an array of mirrors they look at? Cameras inside the helmet?

The helmets are restrained for safety reasons, I’m not sure they can turn their heads even if they wanted to.

They have a pretty good set of mirrors, but the part you may be missing is the in-helmet radio uplink from their spotters. If anything particularly interesting is going on, someone is telling them about it.

They all pretty much have HANS devices in all the cars these days. You can’t turn your head with these on.
Dale Earnhardt didn’t like them since it restricted head movement. He may have survived if wearing one.

They never use their signals, either.

This. Spotters are pretty much a constant banter in their ear, giving location, fuel, who’s where, distance/time to car in front, etc.

As andyleonard said, there are spotters around the track, working for each team. They tell their particular driver about traffic around them.

Plus, in NASCAR at least, since rubbin’ is racin’, and tradin’ paint is considered part of the sport, I’m not so sure the drivers are terribly concerned about other traffic.

Except Danica Patrick, of course. She’ll get in your face, especially if you’re on the lead lap and she’s 2 laps down.

You absolutely can turn your head with a HANS. The new ones have a sliding tether so you can move the helmet maybe 4" either way. Not enough to look out the side window but more than enough to check the mirrors and get a little more peripheral vision. A bigger consideration is the curved right side of the seat that supports your helmet from G force in the turns. At 200mph, you’re not using the mirrors like you do on the street…you’re simply looking for a flash of color to see if you’re clear.

What’s the use? They’d just have their left-turn signal on for 95% of the race anyway. :smiley:

Not so much a problem on the new ovals, but a rough road course - especially in the old days - produced so much vibration that the drivers couldn’t focus their eyes. It was all a blur until the road smoothed out. I’ve been told they steered by shape and shadow.