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What are the Chances of a Plane Crashing? — The Answer

What are the Chances of a Plane Crashing? — The Answer

If you have never flown in an airplane before because you are afraid it will crash, you are certainly not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 6.5 % of Americans are afraid of flying.

While that may seem like a relatively small number, it doesn’t mean that your anxiety should be invalidated.

Some people even conclude that if you were meant to fly, you would’ve been born with wings. The ground is more comfortable because that’s what you’re used to. But is it really safer?

Even some seasoned airplane passengers have that gnawing fear of a crash in the back of their mind every time the stewardess instructs the cabin to fasten their seat belts and prepare for take- off. But exactly how likely is it that the plane will crash?

What are the chances of a plane crashing?

The chances of a plane crashing are 1 in 1.2 million, and the probability of a person dying in an airplane crash is a mere 1 in 11 million. Surprisingly, you are much safer in the air than you would be on the ground. Your chances of dying in a train derailment or crash is 1 in a half million, and the probability of dying in an automobile accident is 1 in 5,000.


Airplanes are a relatively safe way to travel

Statistically speaking, airplanes are the safest mode of travel. There’s not anywhere near as many airplanes in the sky as there are cars on the ground, so there isn’t much risk of a collision.

Airplanes are examined by mechanics and filled with sufficient fuel before they ever leave the ground, and the air traffic controller helps direct the pilot to the destination.

Pretty simple, huh? While there are occasionally news stories of airplanes malfunctioning in the sky, this rarely occurs.

Most airplane crashes happen during take-off or landing, so you’d already be relatively close to the ground. And pilots are trained in conducting emergency landings. Some are successful. Others aren’t.


Why some people are afraid of flying

Sure, you regularly see automobile crashes when you are held up in traffic on the interstate wondering when they are going to clear the wreck, so you can get to your destination.

You may have even seen ambulances rush past you and hoped that everyone involved was OK.

But you rarely see them on the news because they are such common occurrences.

They may be broadcast on traffic radio or televised if it involved a five-car pile up or a drunk driver, but that’s about it. On the other hand, airplane crashes are usually nationwide news, which fuels the fear of flying.

Some people are just naturally afraid of heights. They may have once been that child who refused to climb to the higher tree branch or fell and broke their arm when they attempted it. Other people can’t even pinpoint why they’re afraid of flying.

The sky may simply be unfamiliar territory.

But does it really even matter why some people are afraid to fly?

Many fears are irrational, such as that monster who hid in your bedroom closet throughout your childhood. The fear is still valid.

As long as it isn’t interfering with a person’s everyday functioning, let them be. They may simply need to take a Greyhound bus instead of buying an airplane ticket.


Airplanes are less likely to crash than trains.

Trains are said to derail more often than most people think, but many derailments likely involved freight trains rather than passenger trains.

Does that really make a difference, though? Trains obviously aren’t a bullet-proof method of traveling, either.

While trains are subject to derailment, they rarely collide, and most collisions involve suicide or malfunctioning safety gates.

Engineers have a system set up that’s similar to air traffic control and meant to prevent collisions.

But they may occasionally collide with something. Although 1 in 500,000 still gives you a relatively low risk of dying in a train crash, statistically, it’s safer to fly.


Automobiles are the least safest mode of travel

Automobiles are the most common and frequently used mode of transportation in the US, but it’s also the least safest.

While cars and trucks can break down, most deaths from automobile accidents occur due to collisions.

Even if you are a safe driver, you can’t always tell whether the driver in the next lane over has had one too many drinks or predict that another driver will suddenly rush through their red light the second that yours has turned green.

And cell phones have made the roadways even less safe.

But it’s not like there are many options. You can walk, ride your bike, take a bus or cab, or drive.

And driving is the quickest and most efficient option. You have a whopping 1 in 5000 chance of dying in a car accident. And yet, most likely, you still continue to drive.

Sometimes you just need to put your fears aside long enough to get to where you need to go.


Is there any way to survive a plane crash?

If you’re seated near the emergency exit, you have a much better chance of surviving a plane crash than passengers who are seated far away from the exits. Unfortunately, you can’t always control your seating arrangements.

There is a very slim chance of a plane crashing, but it does happen, and most airplane crashes are nationally televised, which contributes to the fear of flying.

And even though you have probably heard of plane crashes in which no one survived, that scenario rarely happens.

If you’re ever in a plane crash, you can use these survival strategies to increase your chances of getting out of the plane alive.

Cars are the least safest method of travel, but it’s doubtful that you will start walking or riding a bicycle to your destinations after you’ve finished reading this article.

The reality is that life involves taking chances. Everyone is going to die eventually, and it probably won’t be from any type of crash.

If you’re still afraid of flying, your feelings are still valid. You shouldn’t feel pressured to soar 3,000 feet in the air if you’re not comfortable doing so.

Even though airplanes are safer than Greyhound or Amtrak, the ground often feels safer because it’s familiar- and at least you can relax and enjoy the ride.


Frequently asked questions on the probability of an airplane crashing


What to do if a plane is going to crash?

If you were on a plane that went down, the best thing to do is call 911 and stay where you are. Unless you crash in the middle of nowhere, help will arrive relatively quickly for something like a plane crash. You have a higher chance of survival if you wait for emergency services to arrive rather than wandering off.


What do they say before a plane crashes?

When the pilot says the words, “Easy Victor”, it means that the plane is at risk of crashing and they may attempt an emergency landing if possible. Pilots use this as a code word to inform the crew that the plane needs to be evaluated without causing the passengers to panic.