This Is Officially the Safest Way to Travel

Kiss that fear of flying goodbye.

If you're afraid of flying, you're not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, up to 6.5 percent of the U.S. population—that's about 20 million Americans—has a paralyzing fear of traveling by plane, and some research suggests that a less-acute version of aviophobia may affect up to 25 percent of the population. But is boarding a 747 really the danger many of us make it out to be?

Sorry to burst your bubbles, plane-phobes: flying by plane is actually the safest way to travel. In fact, 2017 was the safest year for airline passengers to date: there were  just three commercial crashes, resulting in 14 fatalities. According to the Aviation Safety Network, the prior year was the second-safest year for aviation on record, with just 17 fatal hull-loss airliner accidents and 258 resulting deaths. When you consider that, just 20 years prior, there were 57 airliner crashes and 1843 fatalities, it's clear that airline travel isn't just safe, it's getting safer all the time.

While airline crashes are both terrifying and tragic, the odds that you'll ever encounter one are shockingly slim. Considering that over 3.5 billion passengers board a plane each year, you've only got about a 1 in 11 million chance of dying in an airplane accident. In fact, you're about 16 times more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to go down in a plane. You're even significantly more likely to be killed by a tornado, meteorite, or food poisoning than you are to die in a plane crash.

So, how does your preferred method of travel stack up? Trains rank close to airplanes in terms of safety. In 2016, there were 62 train accidents worldwide, many of which had no reported injuries. In contrast, in the same year, there were 34,439 fatal car crashes in the U.S. alone, accounting for 37,461 total deaths. The good news? The chances you'll die in a car crash are still pretty low, hovering around 1 percent. Just drive sober, save the texts for later, and odds are, you'll be fine. And if you do want to increase your chances of making it home safe, This is the Most Dangerous Day of the Year to Drive.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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