HAVE YOU SUDDENLY DEVELOPED A FEAR OF FLYING?
By: Lethiwe Mdluli
Flying has always been considered the safest way of traveling until this fact was questioned due to the recent tragic events surrounding air travel.
The recent airplane crashes and disappearance without a trace has had people panicking and it has raised questions as to whether flying is really the safest way to get from point A to point B. The 17 July downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, which killed all 298 people on board and the Air Algerie flight that crashed with 110 passengers, has raised a few eyebrows and evoked fears of flying amongst many travelers.
These are not the only incidents that have caused a panic. Other crashes include the Malaysia Airline plane MH370 that went missing on March 8 which is still missing. The odds of dying in the air are just 1 in 7,229, but this statistic might need to be revisited since the recent scandals.
Traveling by air is considered safer than walking, cycling, and getting on the bus according to a report by the CDC. A study from the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing found that pedestrians are responsible for 80% of pedestrian-vehicle crashes and cars are still deemed the most dangerous mode of transport with a fatality rate of 0.61 per 100 million passenger miles. Passenger trains have a fatality rate of 0.06 per 100 million passenger miles.
While buses and trains are often seen as safer travel alternatives, a 2011 report by PolitiFact found that actually air travel is the safest. The odds of dying in the air are just 1 in 7,229. So many facts and studies that are done drive us back to the same conclusion: air traveling is the safest, than why are we facing to many crashes? Tragic plane crashes are often highlighted by the media because they are so devastating, yet extremely rare. Over the past few months the world has experienced the most tragic plane crashes in history.
According to David Ropeik, risk communication instructor at Harvard School of Public Health. Driving affords more personal control, making it feel safer. In addition, plane crashes are catastrophic, killing more people at once, which grabs more attention and makes people more sensitive to them. Car crashes happen every day and spread the loss over time, making their combined effects less noticeable.
Most people who are afraid of flying have fallen to this phobia severely since these crashes. Even people who were not afraid of flying have developed fear. Unfortunately this does not help in any way at all. It seems like more and more people are resorting to driving to their destinations if it’s possible, even though driving is considered most dangerous.