Since 1985, Australian professor Ed Galea has pored over interviews with 2,000 survivors of 105 plane crashes, analyzing their behavior, searching for the keys to survival.
1. Traveling with your family
If you are traveling in a family group, you should insist that the airline does not separate you throughout the aircraft. Why? It`s only natural that if you`re involved in that sort of situation that you`re going to want to reunite the group before you evacuate. If you do that it`s going to cause havoc.
2. The seat belt
How do you undo your seat belt in your car? You press a button. In a plane, you lift a latch. If you can`t undo your seat belt then, you can`t evacuate and your chances of survival plummet.
3. Does it matter where you sit?
Sit within seven rows of an exit and count exactly how many rows you are from the nearest two exits. Count so that you can find an exit in the dark. And why two exits? Because the nearest exit to you might not be "viable."
4. Facing backward
We would all be safer if airline seats faced backward. But the difficulty with this is that the majority of the traveling public doesn`t like traveling with their back facing the direction of travel.
"Smoke contains toxic gases, narcotic gases. It contains irritant gases. If you inhale enough of them you will die," explains Galea. He carries a smoke hood but warns that if you`re going to follow his example you must learn how to use it. Otherwise you`ll waste time trying to put it on — time that could be used for making an exit.
Listen to the preflight briefing by the flight attendants and read the safety card. Be prepared. And if you`re about to crash, do adopt the brace position -- head down, ankles behind knees. The brace position is one of the most important things a passenger should take on board when they fly, it`s designed to reduce your chances of being knocked unconscious during a heavy impact.