It’s fair to say that a fear of flying is more common than a fear of being a passenger in a car. The mere sight of an aeroplane through a departure lounge window can up your heart rate, with the sense of danger immediately heightened to greater extent than the risk of road traffic accidents when you hop into your car.
Do I have more of a chance of a plane crash or a road traffic accident?
There’s no denying that a plane crash is a tragedy. The carnage caused by an object that the laws of physics dictate should have little right of being off the ground for an extended period of time falling to the ground are catastrophic. The sheer impact means that surviving such an incident is a tall order. But in reality, you are at greater risk when nipping to the shops in your hatchback, or journeying to the coast in a camper van.
Studies show that around 40% of people suffer from some form of anxiety when flying. But this is made to look a little silly when 2012 research from the U.S Aviation Safety Network revealed that there were only 475 fatalities from 23 incidents across the year. This made 2012 the safest year for flying since 1945, means that you would have to fly every day for 123,000 years to die on average and that only one in 10 million flights crash.
To put this into context road safety figures make for grim reading. Last year 362 people died from motorcycle accidents in the UK alone, while walking along the pavement is even more dangerous than popping on a crash helmet and hopping on your bike.
It gets worse with car travel. By far the most popular form of transport in the UK causes a whopping 2,000 deaths per year. 2012 proved be under this figure with 883, but this is still some way off the figure from air travel. Safety advances are always cutting the risk of traffic accidents, while improved road design and more vigilant control of drink driving and speeding also contribute immensely.
It would appear that a fear of flying is slightly irrational in the modern age. Aeroplanes are now one of the safest forms of transport, with big companies spending huge amounts on research and development to ensure you have a safe trip.