How to Survive a Plane Crash

Airplane crash image
And they say the safest place is at the back of the plane.

Don’t laugh, I’ve been thinking about how to survive an airline crash for sometime now. Ever since I read in article on the subject in some news magazine, I’ve been fascinated by the prospect. I know the stats on kicking it in a crash are low – like, 9 million to 1, but still… I think everyone should be prepared. Here’s a look at what you need to know.

Wing of a Plane crash
This is my worst nightmare.
  1. Wear close-toed shoes, a long shirt and pants. Heels aren’t going to do you any favours and should debris be whizzing around, you want to be protected. You also want to be warm if you’re stranded on some mountain top à la Alive, so consider wearing a light jacket.
  2. Sit next to an Emergency Exit. You know why.
  3. If you’re not next to a Emergency Exit suss out where they are. Count how many rows away it is, in case it’s totally dark and you have to get there by touch. I imagine most people’s tendency is to cram the aisles and get to the exit in front of them. Don’t think like all the other sheep. Move to the nearest exit behind you and climb over seats.
  4. Listen to the pre-flight instructions and read the safety information card. Yeah, I know it’s lame, but I read somewhere (that I can’t reference – sorry!) this was the greatest predictor of who made it out alive. You’re more likely to panic if you don’t pay attention. The biggest reason people gave for not reading the safety card? They were concerned it didn’t look cool.
  5. Buckle up – even if you’re sleeping, even if the seatbelt sign is turned off. According to WikiHow, “Every centimeter of slack in your seat belt triples the G-Force you’ll experience in the crash.”
  6. Brace yourself for impact. You know what that looks like, because you read the safety information card, right?
  7. Get your oxygen mask on, then assist others. If you can, put it on people who aren’t conscious. Karma and all that.
  8. Where there’s fire, there’s smoke. Smoke inhalation is a reason for many crash fatalities. Try to cover your nose and mouth with a cloth (moistened is ideal), to avoid inhaling the toxic fumes. Got no water? Urine will work. Better gross than dead.
  9. Exit the plane as quickly as possible. You’ve got about two minutes, so pay attention to the Flight Attendant’s instructions, and don’t even attempt to grab your bag from the overhead bin.
  10. Once out, run (or swim) as far away from the plane as possible. Explosions can happen at anytime after a crash.

Good luck!

Have you ever thought your plane was going to crash?

Images via Vance Jacobs/Discovery Channel

About The Author

6 thoughts on “How to Survive a Plane Crash”

  1. Hey Jody – I’m going to an anxiety workshop at school tomorrow night. Shall I save you a seat? 😉

  2. Thank you for this, Jody. Did you pick up any stats about whether it is best to sit front or rear? I always try to get in front of the wing, it’s way too noisy further back, especially on a long haul flight.

    1. Good question! I did read a stat that it’s best to sit in the back, but then I saw somewhere else that it’s been refuted. I’ll keep looking…

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