How To Survive A Plane Crash | Safety And Preparedness Tips

Learn how to survive a plane crash by preparing before boarding, staying alert, and heading these safety and preparedness tips!

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In this article:

  1. You Can Survive a Plane Crash
  2. What Should You Do to Survive a Plane Crash?
  3. Does Clothing Matter?
  4. Does Your Seat Selection Have Any Impact on Survival Rates?
  5. The 5 Row Rule
  6. How Quickly Do You Need to Get out of the Plane?
  7. How Important Is Your Seat Belt?

How to Survive a Plane Crash

You Can Survive a Plane Crash

When we imagine ourselves in the worst-case scenario of a plane crash, most of us do not imagine it going very well. For many people, the fear of flying might be better defined as the fear of crashing, at least for me.

In preparing to write this article, I did some research and I was not surprised to find our chances of being in a plane crash are something like a 9 million to 1.

Would it surprise you to know my research showed records indicate there was 568 U.S. plane crashes between 1980 and 2000 and more than 90% of those involved survived? It sure surprised me based on the news reports we see on television.

Thanks to pilots like Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger who successfully executed an emergency water landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River of Manhattan, New York City. This happened after the aircraft had been disabled by striking a flock of Canada geese during its initial climb out of La Guardia Airport on January 15, 2009.

All of the 155 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft survived. [source: wikipedia]

Nonetheless, it’s not something I want to find out for myself. But the question I pose today is, are you prepared if something does go wrong?

What Should You Do to Survive a Plane Crash?

Before every flight, we sit back and try to get comfortable as we greet our fellow passengers sitting next to us. After all, we are going to be sharing the ride with complete strangers who we may need to rely on in an emergency situation, so its a good idea to at least say hello.

As we do the flight attendant goes over the safety rules with us. They talk about the air masks, make sure those near the doors are physically ready to help, talk about the seat belt and how our seat cushion can also be used as a flotation device.

But I wonder how many really pay attention as their life may depend on it? If you’re a frequent flyer you may want to start if you’re not doing so already.

Flight attendants go through hours of safety training and know what needs to be done to help you with any questions you may have. The old adage you need to put your head between your legs and kiss your a** goodbye is not going to help.

So what are the steps you need to take in a real air emergency? Let’s keep in mind we are in a metal tube miles above the ground and most likely traveling at a very high rate of speed.

There are no brakes the pilot can hit to avoid a collision. However, there are some basic things you can do to prepare for the inevitable.

Does Clothing Matter?

Let’s start with clothing pre-flight. What you wear on the plane can save your life.

Yes, that’s what I said, having comfortable clothing with proper footwear can make a difference when it’s time to exit the plane. In the confusion, high heels and open-toed sandals are not going to help.

As a matter of fact, heels are not allowed on the escape slides which help passengers exit the plane. So what should you wear? tell us that loose clothing also poses a risk, as it can get snagged on obstacles in the close confines of a plane. If you know you’re going to be flying over cold areas, dress appropriately, and consider keeping a jacket on your lap.

You’ll need to be able to stay warm if you survive the crash. Even if that is not a consideration, the more of your body is covered during impact, the less likely you are to receive serious injuries or burns.

Cotton or wool clothing is also preferable as it is less flammable. Wool is preferable to cotton when flying over water, as wool does not lose its insulating properties to the degree cotton does when wet.

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Does Your Seat Selection Have Any Impact on Survival Rates?

Fear of flying airplanes. Hand holding airplane seat | How To Survive A Plane Crash | Safety And Preparedness Tips shares that Popular Mechanics magazine did some exhaustive research that seems to point to the rear of the plane as the safest spot. They studied data of every U.S. commercial jet crash in the last 36 years and found that passengers in the rear of the plane are 40 percent more likely to survive than those in the first few rows [source: Popular Mechanics].

The Federal Aviation Administration’s position is there's no safest seat. The FAA also concluded in a 2005 report there’s no evidence anyone carrier is any safer than the next [source: FAA].

The 5 Row Rule states Ben Sherman, the author of The Survivors Guide: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life research shows that passengers usually move an average of 5 rows before they can get off a burning aircraft.

Sitting any further away than 5 rows from any exit row greatly reduces your chances of surviving. You can also slightly improve your chances by sitting at the back of the plane.

How Quickly Do You Need to Get out of the Plane? points out studies have shown you have approximately 90 seconds to get out after the plane comes to a stop. Now it means you need to find the exit first, so make sure you know where they are beforehand.

In the commotion and confusion, coupled with possible smoke and debris, looking for the exit at that point could be a game-changer for you.

How Important Is Your Seat Belt?

Do you immediately unbuckle when the seat belt light goes off? According to, there is a very good reason to keep your belt on at all times.

In a car, we know buckling up saves lives. We wear it in case of a collision and never really worry we’d hit a pothole or have a reason to worry about turbulence on the road, correct?

But we are not moving at 300 mph, right? Surviving the initial impact is going to be easier if you have your seat belt on.

Crash survivors have attributed wearing their seat belt as a major reason they survived the initial impact. Another good reason to wear your belt at all times during the flight is turbulence.

This can be a very frighting experience as you may know if you have ever experienced it before. Unforeseen circumstances can cause the plane to pitch, drop or bump without warning.

Severe injury can happen for those not buckled during turbulence. In the event of a plane crash, seconds will matter.

A calm and focused mind can make a huge difference as well both before and after a plane crash. gives us some images of the proper way to prepare yourself for impact from a plane crash as well as some other helpful advice.

View the original article here: How to Survive a Plane Crash | LPC Survival.

Watch this video from Air New Zealand for the most epic safety video ever:

Plane crash survival stories are amazing indeed. Luck may play a huge factor in them, but so does these safety and preparedness tips.

Marvel at these survival stories and try to learn survival tips and preparedness lessons from them because you never know when you might need them yourself.

What do you think of these tips on how to survive a plane crash? Share your thought about this article in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 3, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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