Turning the Tables: Mastering the Art of Surviving a Plane Crash

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Learn essential survival techniques and expert tips to increase your chances of surviving a plane crash

For many, flying can be a nerve-racking experience, and the mere thought of a plane crash sends chills down the spine. While it’s statistically unlikely, it’s always better to be prepared. Fear not! We’ve assembled the ultimate guide to surviving a plane crash.


  • The survival rate for plane crashes in the U.S. from 1983 to 2000 was 95.7%.
  • The “brace position” can reduce the risk of head and neck injuries.
  • Preparation, staying calm, and listening to the crew’s instructions are crucial to survival.
  • We’ll dive into effective survival strategies, from pre-flight preparations to post-crash actions.

The Unexpected Silver Lining

Contrary to popular belief, a plane crash doesn’t mean certain doom. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the survival rate for plane crashes in the United States between 1983 and 2000 was a whopping 95.7%. That’s a statistic we can all get behind!

Your Lifesaver: The Brace Position

What could potentially be a lifesaver during a plane crash? Meet the “brace position.” Experts recommend this safety position, which involves bending forward with your head down and your hands on top of it. This simple act can significantly reduce the risk of head and neck injuries during a crash.

The Survival Mantra

Ben Sherwood, author of “The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life,” puts it succinctly, “The key to surviving a plane crash is to be prepared, remain calm, and to listen to the crew’s instructions.” These words of wisdom underline the crucial mindset necessary for survival.

A Comprehensive Guide to Surviving a Plane Crash

Knowing the statistics and survival mantra is one thing, but how does one actually prepare for, and react to, a plane crash? Let’s dive into some actionable strategies:

  • Pre-flight preparations: Opt for non-stop flights when possible as most accidents occur during takeoff and landing. Dress appropriately – long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes can protect against potential injuries and fire.
  • During the flight: Keep your seatbelt fastened whenever you’re seated. Memorize where your nearest exit is and count the number of seat rows to it for reference in case of reduced visibility.
  • During a crash: Adopt the brace position, listen to the crew, and stay calm.
  • After the crash: Evacuate as quickly as possible, leaving your belongings behind. Get as far away from the crash site as you can.

Insider Tips: Mastering Your Fear

Fear is a common hurdle when faced with a crisis. However, experts agree that managing fear and staying calm is critical to survival. Here are a few insider tips to help you keep your cool:

  • Focus on Breathing: Controlled breathing can significantly reduce anxiety. Try the 4-7-8 technique: inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7, and exhale for 8.
  • Visualize Success: Visualization can help keep panic at bay. Imagine yourself acting calmly and efficiently during an emergency.
  • Positive Affirmation: Reinforcing positive thoughts can boost confidence. Repeat to yourself, “I can handle this.”

Surviving the Unthinkable: Empowering Your Mind

Ultimately, surviving a plane crash – or any disaster – is as much about mindset as it is about actions. Being mentally prepared to face any situation, having faith in your abilities, and being ready to take decisive actions are the real game-changers.

As Ben Sherwood’s research in “The Survivors Club” suggests, a strong will to survive can make all the difference. Never underestimate your power to adapt and overcome. You’re stronger than you think!


While the possibility of a plane crash can be frightening, it’s important to remember that they’re exceedingly rare, and most importantly, survivable. With the right knowledge, preparation, and mindset, you can significantly enhance your chances of survival, even in the most challenging situations. Remember, knowledge is power. So, fly high, fly safe, and always be prepared!


How effective is the brace position really?

Experts maintain that the brace position is indeed effective in protecting the head and neck from severe impact injuries.

Are certain seats safer than others on a plane?

There’s no conclusive evidence that certain seats are significantly safer. However, being closer to an exit could potentially aid quicker evacuation.

How can I stay calm during a plane crash?

Deep breathing and focusing on the task at hand – following safety instructions – can help manage panic and fear.

Should I try to take my belongings with me during evacuation?

No. Leave all belongings behind to avoid blocking or slowing down evacuation routes.

Is there any way to decrease my chance of being in a plane crash?

Choosing airlines with excellent safety records, keeping your seatbelt fastened during the flight, and paying attention to the safety briefing can enhance your overall safety.

What should I do if I can’t remember the safety instructions during a crash?

The best course of action is to adopt the brace position and follow the cabin crew’s instructions. They are trained to guide passengers during emergencies.


National Transportation Safety Board

The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood

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