Is Flying Safer Than Driving?
David Muñoz | January 3, 2023 | Car Accidents
If you ask a room full of adults how many are afraid of driving, almost none of them will raise their hands. But if you ask that same group how many are afraid of flying, you might get several raised hands. Fear of flying is common, but should we really be more afraid of flying than of driving?
You may have heard that flying is safer than driving, but how true is that claim? Read on to get the data and decide for yourself which is the bigger danger.
Car Crash Statistics
Let’s start by looking at some general car crash statistics to get an idea of how dangerous driving is in the United States.
- In 2021, nearly 43,000 people died in car crashes around the United States. Close to 5 million more were seriously injured.
- On average, Americans experience 1.34 fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled. For context, the average person drives about 12,000 miles per year, so it would take you more than 8,000 years to drive 100,000 miles. Altogether, Americans drive more than 3 trillion miles per year.
- Americans report almost 7 million accidents per year.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that thirteen car accidents happen every minute. That works out to one car accident about every five seconds. In the time it’s taken you to read this statistic, about two crashes have taken place.
Your odds of dying in a car crash are about 1 in 101 at any given time.
Plane Crash Statistics
Now that we know how many car crashes happen and how many result in injury or death, let’s turn our attention to planes.
- In 2021, there were twenty-one total plane crashes. Zero of these resulted in fatalities; in fact, there have only been three fatal commercial plane crashes in the United States since 2006.
- Since 2009, only two people have died in commercial plane crashes in the United States.
- Last year, your odds of dying in a plane crash were too small to reasonably calculate. You are more likely to die choking on food or from sunstroke than you are to die in a plane crash.
- Statistically speaking, you would have to take more than 100,000 commercial flights before you would be involved in one crash. The average American flies between one and two times per year, so on average, you’d have to live to be at least 50,000 before you experienced a plane crash.
Almost 99 percent of plane crashes do not result in a fatality.
Looking at the numbers, it’s pretty clear that flying is far safer than driving. For one thing, most Americans drive far more often than they fly, meaning you have more exposure to potential car crashes. It’s also easier to implement airline safety measures than it is to enforce driving safety rules.
Why Flying Feels More Dangerous
Even though the numbers are clear, many Americans still report being afraid of flying. So why does flying feel more dangerous when it’s obviously far safer than driving?
Part of our fear may stem from the perception that, while plane crashes may be rarer than car accidents, they are more deadly. Running into someone’s rear bumper feels survivable – falling five miles out of the sky without a parachute does not.
But experts also suggest that flying presents the perfect cocktail of a variety of other fears. Many people are afraid of heights, afraid of closed-in spaces, afraid of crowds, or afraid of being around strangers. Flying takes all of these phobias and crams them into one fuselage that passengers cannot get out of until the pilots open the doors.
How to Make Driving Safer
Since driving is so much more dangerous than flying, what can you do to make it safer and reduce your risk of a fatal accident?
Practicing defensive driving is always a good way to reduce your risk of a car crash. It’s a good idea to remove as many distractions as you can. This may include avoiding texting, using hands-free mode when calling, and refraining from putting on makeup or reading while driving.
You should never drive drunk or under the influence of drugs. Driving drowsy can also be very dangerous, so try to avoid getting behind the wheel when you’re impaired in these ways.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident
The numbers are clear: flying is much safer than driving. You are much less likely to be involved in a plane crash than a car crash, and the vast majority of plane crashes don’t involve any fatalities. Instead of worrying about dying in a plane crash, it’s better to focus on driving as safely as you can to reduce your risk of a fatal car accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Our personal injury lawyers can help you take on insurance companies and get the money you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with us to discuss the details of your case.
Contact the San Diego Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
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