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Do some motorcycle helmets offer more safety than others?

You know that wearing a motorcycle helmet helps you avoid a head injury in a crash; it's common sense, and it's backed up by countless studies. What you want to know, though, is if there is a specific type of helmet that helps the most. Or are you relatively in the same position no matter what you buy?

The reality is that the three main styles offer much different levels of protection. They are:

  • Half-shell helmets: These essentially just sit on the top of your head, like a ball cap. They are light, they do not impact your field of vision and they're simply unintrusive. The problem, though, is that your neck and jaw are still exposed, as is the base of your skull. The helmet helps with a direct impact to the crown of the head, but not much else.
  • Three-quarter-shell helmets: These add more protection to the half-shell by wrapping down farther toward your neck. The sides also swing down and cover your ears. Your face is still open to the wind and your jaw is exposed underneath, but the helmet helps much more with impacts from any direction.
  • A full shell: The safest option, though, is a helmet with a wrap-around jaw and a face shield. It covers your head completely. By adding the support under your chin, it keeps your face protected since both that support and the forehead of the helmet extend farther than your face. The thin shield can also help, but the padding and the exterior shell do more.

Of course, you can get seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident, no matter what helmet you wear. If you do, you may have a right to financial compensation.

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