Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

10 Potentially fatal situations and how to survive them

From falling out of an airplane to plunging your car into a lake, you never want to end up in any of these dangerous, potentially fatal situations. But if you do, you need to be prepared and remain calm in order to survive.

Avalanche sign

Long fall

Of course, you never want this (or any of these potentially fatal scenarios) to happen, but if you ever find yourself falling — whether from a hotel balcony or from an airplane with a broken parachute — you do have a chance to survive. Spread your extremities out as much as possible to try to create drag and slow yourself down. Position yourself so that the front of your body is parallel to the ground, then arch your back and tilt your head back. Bend your knees slightly. If you are falling from a plane, you have a few minutes before impact. Steer yourself to the best landing spot (vegetation or minor obstructions) if possible by dipping your right shoulder to turn right and left shoulder to turn left. As you near the ground, relax as much as possible and try to land feet first on the balls of your feet and then roll, collapsing your legs and tucking your head under your arms. Remember that you will likely bounce. Many people survive the initial impact by landing feet first, then die on the second impact because they hit their head. So don’t forget to cover your head with your arms.


Your first instinct in an avalanche might be to try to outrun it. It’s not possible. Even if you are on skis, you don’t have a chance. If you can, move horizontally away from it. If that isn’t remotely possible, then simply close your mouth and put your arms in front of your face to create an air pocket. When the snow goes over you, you’ll have a little space to breathe. Don’t try yelling or screaming to try to get someone to find you. Your screams will be muffled by the snow anyway, and you’ll be wasting valuable oxygen. Next, try urinating. It sounds disgusting, but you need to do what you can to survive and urinating will make it easier for those search dogs to locate you.

Lost in the woods

If you become lost while hiking or camping, get yourself to high ground first and try to get oriented. You may be able to realize where you are or locate your campsite. If you are still lost, begin to move downhill and try to find a moving body of water — river, stream or creek. When you find water, follow it. Water will typically lead you toward a town. If you can’t find water, then try to continue to walk straight — using the sun to orient yourself. Leave a trail of broken sticks or branches on the ground if possible, so you can tell if you have accidentally circled back or if you need to retrace your steps.

Plunge into a lake

If you accidentally drive into a lake or other body of water, act fast! The cabin of your car will be filled in about 90 seconds. Immediately roll down the windows — the power of your car should work for at least 30 seconds after hitting the water. Then, get out of your seat belt. If you can’t get the windows rolled down, try to kick them out with your feet. You should have enough adrenaline strength to break them out.

Dog attack

Don’t try to run. The dog is faster than you. Lay down on the ground on your back, cover your face and head with your arms and start kicking. If the dog tries to go around to get to your head and upper body, spin on your bottom to always keep him near your feet. Keep kicking. Kick hard and scream like crazy for help.

Up next: More survival tips >>

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.