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The Safest Way To Travel In 2015

Author: Andrew Jackson

In the past two years there have been a number of high profile plane crashes. These crashes have left people scratching their heads as to what actually happened, and they have left travelers unnerved. Many have wondered if it is actually safe to fly, or if they'd be better off taking an alternative form of transportation. Here's a look at the actual statistics, and which method of transportation will most safely bring you to your destination.

Traveling By Car

The road trip was once the idealized family vacation. You load the crew up into your station wagon, pile the luggage on top, and drive Route 66 from Chicago to LA (or wherever your destination might be). Since that time, traveling by car hasn't waned much in popularity, but traveling by air is certainly much faster and more affordable for the average family than it once was.

The biggest issue with driving in a car is that you are largely at the mercy of those around you. You may be the safest driver in the world, but if someone that is impaired, careless, or malicious crashes into you, you could end up in the hospital or worse.

During your lifetime, you have a 1 in 491 (0.2%) chance of being killed in an automobile crash. (For more, see: The True Cost Of Owning A Car.)

Traveling By Train

The locomotive is the oldest form of mass transit around. Since 1804, this method of moving people and goods across the country has helped to shape societies. Due to the cost and time commitment (as well as prevalence of passenger vehicles), trains don't get much attention anymore. But they should.

Riding a train is actually very safe. It takes a lot ot derail these large, heavy machines. The odds of dying in a train accident are just 1 in 431,800 (about 0.0002%). You are roughly 1,000 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a train accident. (See also: How Inflation Has Affected Transportation Prices.)

Traveling By Air

Plane crashes get a lot of press when they occur. People get scared, they wonder what is becoming of the world, and vow never to fly again. The reason is that plane crashes are not only rare, but deadly. If you do happen to be on a plane when it goes down, the chance of survival is low.

Fortunately, however, the chance of that plane going down is rare. About 1 in 45 million flights actually crash; and your odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million (around 0.000009%). You are around 25,000 times safer in a plane than in a car.

Despite the recent high profile crashes, such as the Germanwings crash in France and the Malaysia Airline disappearance, air travel is incredibly safe. In fact, a fully loaded 727 would have to crash every two days just to equal the same number of fatalities experienced in automobiles every year in the United States alone.

The Bottom Line

If you have a lot of miles to cover, traveling by air is still the safest and fastest way to travel. There would need to be a lot more plane crashes every year to change those odds. But the fact remains that travel by air is a bit more expensive than travel by car, so more people are getting into their vehicles and hitting the open road. Traveling by car is still incredibly safe, and being a careful driver reduces your risk of an accident immensely.

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