Is Skydiving Safer Than Driving?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Is skydiving safer than driving? Statistically speaking, yes. While jumping out of an airplane in flight might seem like a riskier thing to do than popping down to the market to get milk, it’s not. Unequivocally, the numbers confirm that skydiving is way safer than driving. Once you factor in some skydiving safety tips, you have yourself a very intelligently calculated risk. Here’s why:

1. The statistical data has spoken

The United States Parachute Association (of which WNY Skydiving is a proud member!) is the governing body for our sport. As such, the organization has been collecting statistics on skydiving safety since the sport’s early days, in an attempt to understand the risks. Those statistics stand as excellent proof that that skydiving is not only safer than most “extreme” activities, it’s definitely safer than risky “normal” activities (like driving), and it’s actually getting safer every year.

Is skydiving safer than driving?

Let’s talk about driving specifically. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the driver of a car can expect to be involved in an accident at least once every ten years. Of those incidents, two to three will involve an injury, and one in twenty of those crashes will involve a serious injury. (To you? The other driver? A passerby? Who knows!)

Here’s a side-by-side look at some key statistics on the safety of skydiving versus driving:

Skydiving Fatalities in the US

Driving Fatalities in the US
Total Number of Fatalities in 20152135,092
Fatality Rate0.0061*per 3.5 million jumps1.12* per 100 Million VMT
Avg Fatalities Per Day.05896

*Data Sources: USPA and NHTSA

That’s pretty clear. So why do we erroneously think skydiving is so unsafe? That one’s easy:

2. We’re simply used to the risks inherent in driving a car

Most people in the first world spend a lot of time in cars. Most of us were driven home from the hospital as a newborn and basically haven’t left the car since. And we’ve generally held drivers’ licenses since age 16. Being in a car is 100% normal. The risks are part of the emotional furniture.

Logically speaking, they shouldn’t be. Driving remains the number-one cause of death for Americans, across age groups, socioeconomic categories, and ethnic lines. Driving cars has been – and continues to be – the single most dangerous activity we perform on any given day.

That leads us to a very interesting phenomenon: The same person that spent half their drive to the dropzone texting gets all freaked out about how dangerous they think it’s going to be to skydive. (Really?)

Tandem skydiver under canopy

3. Calculated risk is part of life

Whether you’re driving or jumping or sitting at home eating donuts — one simple, universal fact is the same: Living a risk-free life is not possible. We all know someone who seems bent on removing every last risk from his/her life or the lives of his/her children, and it looks bonkers from an outside perspective. Right? Because striving to take the risks out of life at the expense of the experiences that enrich it means that you’re bound to stifle the reasons that said life is worth living in the first place.

The key to living deeply, widely and well is to take measured, calculated, intelligent, life-affirming risks. In that vein, tandem skydiving with a reputable dropzone is just the ticket. If you have any questions — about skydiving safety, or anything else — we’re here to answer them. Don’t be shy – call us today!

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