IT’S a terrible accident that may have inspired Hampshire residents to be more careful.

Neurosurgeons have said Michael Schumacher’s decision to wear a helmet may have saved his life during his skiing accident in the French Alps.

Now safety conscious Southampton skiers are snapping up helmets just days later, according to local sports shops.

The Formula 1 legend remains in a critical condition after hitting his head against rocks while skiing offpiste with his son.

David Tutt, who manages SnowTogs in Millbrook Road, Southampton, said they had seen a 20 per cent increase in helmet sales over the past few days.

He said: “There is always a higher level of interest created by these sad events.

“Helmet sales have gone up phenomenally over the past two years anyway, because people are a lot more safety conscious when they are going skiing.

“But incidents like these tend to suddenly make people take notice and we have seen a boost in helmet trade.”

Su Browning, senior supervisor at Wilds Sports in Winchester, added the shop had sold more than half its helmet stock on Tuesday, the first day it started stocking them.

She said: “We only had ten helmets in but we sold six in the first day. I’m not sure if there is a direct link but we have sold them very quickly.”

Meanwhile Decathlon sports shop in Harbour Parade, Southampton said they had noticed a small boost in sales.

Manager Aaron Bowden said: “Junior ski helmets have increased by 5.2 per cent, although adults haven’t shown any growth.

“But the weather has been affecting sales more than the news of S c h u m - acher I’m afraid.”

Helmets can range in price from a r o u n d £15 to more than £200.

SnowTogs manager David Tutt added: “Our range is from £30 to £150, but there is no difference in safety quality.

“The price varies because of the design and some are more comfortable than others, but they all do the job required.”