Surviving an Airplane Crash 101

While it's not likely to happen, thoughts of surviving an airplane crash become more prominent when we hear of news stories like the recent Southwest flight that developed a 5 foot gaping hole shortly after take off.

According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) statistics, people in the U.S. are more likely to die in a car accident (1:90), from falling off a ladder, drowning in a bathtub (1:9,000), or by freezing to death before dying in an airplane crash (1:30,000).

Arnold Barnett, a professor at MIT and expert in aviation safety, advises that the average person would have to fly every day for 19,000 years before they would encounter a fatal accident.  

But if it does happen, how can you improve your odds of surviving an airplane crash?  Experts recommend following these safety tips when flying:

  • ensure your seat belt is fastened at all times when flying; think of it as being similar to a car - you don't just put on your seatbelt when you leave your driveway or just before you park
  • know where you lifejacket is and understand how to use it
  • Sorry, Alaska! try to avoid flying here as a disproportionate number of airplane crashes happen in Alaska due to extreme weather conditions
  • sit near the back of the airplane as studies show you're more likely to survive
  • listen to the safety information talk and know where your exit and exit rows are
  • keep alert and avoid drinking alcohol
It's also reassuring to know that most airplane crashes are not fatal - TV Exec Ben Sherwood wrote a book to prove just that.  Check it out below:

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