Each day, more than 8 million people around the globe step aboard some 90,000 flights. They almost always land safely.
But in the rare chance of a crash, there are some things passengers can do to improve their odds of surviving. Here are some tips adapted from a British Airways safety awareness course.
—During the safety demonstration, count the number of rows to the nearest exit. Then count the number of rows to the second nearest exit, remembering that it might be behind you.
—Next, practice putting on and taking off your seatbelt to build muscle memory. Check where your life vest is and touch it.
—Learn the proper brace position: Bend forward as far as possible, keep your head down. Place your feet flat on the floor and slide them back. Your dominant hand goes on the back of your head. Protect that hand by placing the other hand over it. Do not interlock fingers. The goal is to ensure that the bones in the stronger hand aren't broken so you can eventually unbuckle the seatbelt.
—Red lights always signal an exit because the color cuts through smoke the best.
—Once an evacuation order is given, seconds count. Move quickly to the nearest exit and jump down a slide. If you hesitate, the flight attendants will push you out.
—Always inflate life vests outside the plane. They can limit mobility in a tight space. Or, if water fills the cabin, passengers with inflated vests can be pressed up against the ceiling, unable to swim down to the door.