Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationSafety · 10 years ago

You are safer flying on a Plane than driving in a car - is this true for everyone?

I mean - statistic wise - yes it is true, but statistics can't be the same for everyone - For instance - Safe driver vs. unsafe driver. Roughly 1000 people die in Airline crashes each year. I'm sure some of those are safe drivers who would have been safer driving their own car. Now it's estimated 115 people die in a car accident everyday in the U.S. That comes out to about 414k a year. But you have to take into consideration that not that many people fly each day as compared to people who drive on there on the road - everyday. People are driving 365 days a year, drunk, sleepy, or on crack - Tens of Millions of cars on the road. So this is an unfair comparison.

If you are a safe driver you will probably never be involved in a fatal accident- if you are a crazy driver, you are bound to get into an accident. Now, we're not talking about a simple car accident, because 9 out of 10 people will be involved in a car accident sometime in their life, whether it's a fender bender or whatever. We are talking about fatal accidents which leaves a person dead.

All I'm saying is - I think Safe drivers are 1 million times less likely to get involved in an accident, and since I'm a safe driver I would rather trust my life in my own hands than in the hands of whoever is flying the plane.


Another Good point - luiz.

Update 2:

I disagree okla, with the coin thing. Flipping a coin is solely up to chance and statistics doesn't include an individuals skill. That's like telling a 12 y.o. Black kid who make Str8 A's in school, who comes from a loving home - that he's more likely to become an inmate than a College Grad. because he's black.

Update 3:

Peter H - Are you saying a safe driver has the same chances of becoming involved in a Fatal accident than an UNSAFE one? Oh, well than take that up with the insurance companies. They have their statistics too, that's why ALLSTATE gives out checks to Safe drivers

Update 4:

Peter H, my apologies. My math was totally off-beat. You are correct - 40k. That makes a even better argument. But the fact is - People drive more than they fly. So in all fairness you have to consider the fact that there are 10s of millions of cars on the road while their are only a few thousands of Planes in the air. Do the math. That's like comparing the Traffic in NYC to the traffic in a small town in the South - Pop. 10,000. Of course more accidents will occur in NYC because it's bigger.

9 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    I'm not sure, since you can survive a car accident but you can't survive an airplante accident.

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  • 10 years ago

    The annual death toll from road traffic accidents in the USA is around 40000, not 414000, so that's the first statistic you've got wrong. The second piece of bad news is that more than 50% of motorists believe they are better than average, which is impossible. Unless you have an advanced driving certificate, as I have, the likeliest probability is that you are only an average motorist. The third piece of bad news is that even if your driving standard were high, you would still be exposed on the road to the foolish and sometimes dangerous activities of others. The 4th piece of bad news is that "Safe drivers are 1 million times less likely to get involved in an accident" is a statistic you just made up. Per vehicle-mile you will always be safer in an aircraft of a reputable commercial airline.

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  • 10 years ago

    Even if you are a safe enough driver so that you do not cause any accidents yourself, you are only 50% less likely to be in a fatal accident, because someone (one of those crazy drivers) can cause a fatal accident that involves you.

    On a day when a person flies, they typically go on the order of magnitude of 1000-1500 miles in a day. Maybe 600, maybe 3000, but not 30-100.

    On a day when a person drives, they typically go on the order of magnitude of 1-50 miles in a day. Maybe 100, but rarely more.

    So your comparison of the number of drivers to the number of fliers is not a fair comparison. You need to look at the total amount of flying versus the total amount of driving, because the amount done by each person is not the same.

    An actual, valid objections to the statistic is that, even if you fly from one airport to another, you still have to drive from home to the first airport, from the second airport to your hotel, etc., and that driving could be more dangerous than driving the whole way, because roads to and from airports tend to be especially congested, because you are using a rental car instead of your regular car, and because most accidents happen either on regular streets or congested highways within the metropolitan area where you live and work, not on the rural interstates that connect one metropolitan area to another.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    People DO survive airplane accidents, what about the crash landing in the Hudson for recent example. So NOT a good point. Airplanes carry far more people, so yes more drive and more cars, but cars carry less. If we all rode buses THEN it would be fair to consider where there are more of(and still would probably need more) The numbers we need to go by are per capita I agree, but don't talk about number of vehicles. There are far fewer small planes then cars(comparing the idea of a real plane to a bus and small plane to a car). Still safer flying because A) distance and B) have to watch out for the other idiots. Planes aren't used to go 10 miles, that's what a car is for, and that ALSO makes a difference in safety. That is also why you have far less flying.

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  • 10 years ago

    There have been airplane crash survivors.

    In either case, still more people die on the road than in the air. Sure, that guy may have been a safe driver, but what about the four cars closest to him? Or the long line of fast-moving cars in front of him on the freeway? If even one of them slips, it could mean a huge pileup, where he may or may not get injured or die. On the other hand, you don't seem to understand what an easy job the pilot has. Guy could fall asleep for a bit and nothing would happen. Of course, pilots rarely do fall asleep, and there are usually two pilots involved to keep each other in check.

    Yes, there is a CHANCE you will die in a plane. But the hazards and uncontrollable circumstances on the road are much greater, and you are more likely to die in your car than in front of the child who is kicking your seat.

    Source(s): Boyfriend is a pilot.
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  • 10 years ago

    The difference is that on the road you make the assumption that you are able to trust all other drivers, oncoming, behind and overtaking. You have already mentioned the mind altering substances which may come in to play, let alone fatigue, state of mind and general attitude whilst driving.

    Flying is measured and controlled. From pushback to shutdown, each movement of an RPT aircraft is calculated in regard to weight, balance, weather, terrain and traffic. I'm far more relaxed aboard an aircraft than on a highway.

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  • 10 years ago

    Let me ask this. The first time you flip a coin, there is a 50-50 chance it will end up heads. If you have flipped it 5 times, and it came up tails each time, what is the percent chance it will be heads?

    If you said anything other than 50-50, you don't understand statistics.

    Bottom line, regardless of who and his driving record, he is safer in a plane.

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  • 10 years ago

    What about the people who own flying cars?

    No joke, engineers have created a car that is both road and air worthy. They go on sale next month for $200,000.

    So now, the question is... is it safer to travel in a flying car, a regular car, or an airplane?

    check out the article here:

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  • Dimo J
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    2009: One fatality per 10 billion kilometers.

    2007: 1.4 fatality per 100 million miles, close enough to be 1 per 100 million kilometers.

    Road fatalities are about 100 times the rate of airlines, per fatalities/passenger mile.

    Am I a hundred times safer than the average person? Maybe. It would be about a push.

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