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10 tips to survive a plane crash

Many people think that if they're in a plane crash it's all over for them. In fact, advances in technology and training mean that over 90% of plane crashes have survivors (and because of pilot training and advanced aircraft design accidents are avoided - such as when Nationwide lost an engine in 2007). Surviving a plane crash is not just a matter of fate - there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of surviving a plane accident - here are our top 10 tips:

  1. The safest seats on a plane are next to the exits. The further from an exit you are seated the lower your chances of surviving a plane crash. A recommendation is be at least within 5 rows of an exit. If you cant get a seat next to the emergency exit then request an aisle seat.

  2. Remember how to undo your seatbelt. Time and again in crashes many passengers struggle to undo their seatbelts (people tend to go into autopilot in emergencies and try to press a button like they would on a car seat). The seatbelt on a plane is a latch not a button.

  3. If you are told to adopt the brace position, then do so. The brace position prevents you from flying forward and hitting the seat in front of you and reduces your chances of being knocked unconscious. Try and get your upper torso down as much as possible to limit the jacknife effect of impact crash forces. [Ed: we would be safer if planes were designed with seats facing backwards, rather than forwards - unfortuanately people don't like being seated in an opposite direction to the direction of travel, so aircraft manufacturers don't design them like that. On a train it is possible to sit with your back facing the direction of travel, and that would be a safer seat on a train. On a train also try choose a seat where nobody is facing you, so nobody will be thrown into you on impact] alternative brace positions in an aircraft

  4. Count and memorise how many rows you are from the two nearest exits. This way even if there's smoke or it's dark, you can count and feel your way through the seats to the exit.

  5. Fires on planes are packed with toxic gases. Carry a smoke hood with you, and learn how to use it.

  6. Insist that the airline seats you next to your family, as it is human nature to want to leave the plane with them. Let children know which parent is responsible for each of them, and what the emergency plan is. If you are not seated near your family then just leave the aircrat with those sitting nearest to you - do not try to locate friends or family.

  7. Do not inflate your life jacket whilst in the plane - you may end up trapped inside

  8. Mentally know that you are going to survive - never give up.

  9. Dress for survival. Wear trainers or tie-up shoes, as you may literally need to run for your life! Wear cotton clothing rather than fabric made from non-natural fibres, as it does not cling to your skin as much in the event of a fire. Wear trousers and a long-sleeve shirt in case you crash into freezing cold terrain.

  10. Don't drink alcohol or take a sleeping tablet, as you want to be focussed and awake should the plane crash.

Hudson river crash

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