We all want to be in the safest place possible, especially when we’re in these harrowing situations. (This article was first published in our 31st annual edition, Uncle John’s Actual and Factual Bathroom Reader.)
SAFEST PLACE TO SIT ON A PLANE
In 2015 Time magazine analyzed data from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Accident Database and studied accidents in which some passengers survived and others died. The findings: Passengers riding in the middle seats in the back third of the plane had the highest rate of survival
SAFEST PLACE TO SIT IN A CAR
The University of Buffalo studied data about car accident fatalities, paying special attention to where deceased occupants had been sitting at the time of impact. On average, the back seat is approximately 70 percent safer than the front seat. The middle seat in the back is a full 25 percent safer than window seats. Reason: If you’re sitting in the middle, you’re as far away from impact as possible—if a car gets sideswiped, for example, the side of the car will absorb most of that impact.
SAFEST COUNTRY TO BE IN WHEN NUCLEAR WAR BREAKS OUT
Switzerland is well known for its staunch neutrality and refusal to engage in any large-scale conflicts. That means if World War III between superpowers were to break out, those two allied networks would blow each other up while Switzerland stayed out of it. Enhancing the nation’s safety, the Swiss have taken aggressive steps to prevent getting pulled into a war or getting invaded. Hundreds of its bridges and roads are rigged with explosives, as are the sides of mountains that sit on borders with neighboring countries.
SAFEST PLACE AGAINST ALL NATURAL DISASTERS
A geographical data service called Sperling’s Best Places considered what American cities were most likely to endure hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, droughts, extreme heat, and heavy rainfall. It found that the safest city—the one least likely to suffer any of those natural disasters—is Corvallis, Oregon, a small town in northwestern Oregon (and home to Oregon State University).
SAFEST PLACE DURING AN EARTHQUAKE
When the ground starts shaking and you’re inside, it’s most important to make sure nothing shakes free of a wall or ceiling and hits you on the head. Experts say to get under something heavy and sturdy, like a big table. If you don’t have that, get in the bathtub and cover your head. If you’re outdoors, think of your head and use your head: Avoid trees (they fall) and power lines (they fall…and can electrocute you).