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When we envision a plane crash, we imagine the most grotesque, horrifying scene: unrecognizable wreckage, luggage strewn everywhere, and passengers who are either in critical condition or dead.

These scenes fill us with immense fear, which is often so bad that some individuals choose never to fly. Despite plane crashes being more rare than being struck by lightning, they still happen from time-to-time, including minor crashes where planes skid off the runway. These crashes are often survivable, but passengers must understand how to protect themselves in the event of an emergency.

Here are techniques on how to survive a plane crash from an actual flight attendant:

Pay attention to the instructions from the flight attendants.

There are safety instructions and videos for a reason. They are not just mindless guidelines to annoy you before the flight takes off. They are created because they are proven to protect you in the event of a crash.

Know how to brace yourself.

Your body is going to jolt around in unpredictable ways. Know how to brace yourselves in case that were to happen. If you have a seat in front of you, cross your hands, place them on the seat, and then rest your head to your hands. If you don’t have a seat in front of you, bend over as much as you can and tightly grasp the area behind your knees. This will decrease your chance of head or neck injuries.

Protect your head from loose luggage.

The luggage that people bring along are heavy. If a suitcase were to fall on top of your head, you risk serious injury. If you have a blanket or pillow, or any sort of padding, place it over your head.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do.

Yes, chaos is never beneficial in emergency situations, but many people die in plane crashes because they don’t take their lives into their own hands. Instead, they await direct instruction from a flight attendant or pilot. But this is what the instructions before you take off are for. If an emergency were to happen, the flight attendants are going to be busy, so use your best judgement on how to safely protect yourself.

Leave your luggage behind.

In a crash, every second is important. Don’t rummage through the wreckage trying to find your carry on or suitcase. Something could happen to you in the few short minutes it would take to locate your items. Put your life first and evacuate as soon as possible.