In a Florida motorcycle crash, a helmet can save your life. In a recent article, we pointed out how motorcycle helmets reduce the fatality rate by 37 percent and the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury by 66 percent. Purchasing a helmet is therefore the smartest decision you'll make, but it is only half the job. The other half is wearing your helmet each time you get into the saddle. This is why you should choose your helmet carefully, as you are unlikely to wear it if it doesn't fit well.

How do you choose the right motorcycle helmet?

Measure your head: This is the first step, giving you a broad selection of the helmets you will try in the shop. Use a cloth measuring tape and measure the circumference approximately one inch above the eyebrows in front, and at the most distant point in the back. Take a few measurements to avoid errors and choose the largest one.

Hat size: Ask the salesperson or find out on the internet how to convert your measurement into a hat size. Most helmets indicate the hat size, inside diameter, or both. If your size falls in between two sizes, select the larger one.

Visual check: Once you have selected a number of DOT-approved helmets - only these helmets have been tested and shown to offer real protection - make a visual check in front of a mirror. Your eyes should be centered, with the top edge of the liner padding just above the eyebrows. Are the cheek pads in contact with your cheeks? Is there excess pressure on the cheeks?

Movement check: Grab the helmet with both hands on either side. Try to rotate the helmet sideways, holding your head steady. There should be considerable resistance (skin movement) because you don't want your head to move freely inside the helmet. Do the same test up and down, and note if the helmet hurts your neck moving backwards. Like shoes, helmets will break in over time, so you are better off choosing the one that is a tighter fit, as long as it doesn't hurt. Try it on for more than a few minutes to find out if your first impression lasts.

Retention test: Fasten the chin strap tightly. Reach over the helmet and grab the bottom edge in the back with your fingers, trying to roll the helmet off your head. If it comes off, your helmet is definitely too large. Also, if a backward movement of your head makes the helmet cover your eyes, you probably chose too large a size.

Your protection depends on selecting and purchasing the right helmet, so spend the required time to do it right. Purchasing on the internet might be cheaper, but make sure you have tried and selected the right type and size before you order.

The Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert PA take your safety seriously. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, call today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.