Did you know that the seat you choose can affect your chances of surviving a plane crash? Lawyers with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell offer tips. Much of the nation’s media this week has been centered on the San Francisco plane crash that killed two and injured 168 people. According to statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board, the survival rate in U.S. plane crashes from 1983 to 2000 was 95 percent. But if you’re a passenger on a plane that crashes, many factors can determine your chances of survival – and much of it depends squarely upon how you plan, prepare and react. Aviation accident attorneys with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell offer these tips: Sit as near an exit as possible, preferably within five rows. Wherever your seat is, count the number of seats between you and the nearest exit. In the case of an incident that fills the plane with smoke, visibility may be very limited and you may have to feel your way to the exit. If available, opt for seats in the rear of the plane or in the aisle, as they’re typically the safest. Know that 80 percent of plane accidents happen within the first three minutes of takeoff or in the eight minutes just prior to landing. So, put down that in-flight magazine and stay alert. Pay attention to those pre-flight safety instructions explained by the flight attendants. In accordance with those instructions, envision what you’ll do in the event of a crash and create a plan. Then, go over the plan with anyone traveling with you, particularly children. When bracing for impact, per the provided safety cards, place your weakest hand over your strongest hand (the one you write with). This helps protect your strongest hand, which you’ll need intact for things like unbuckling your seatbelt. If you are a passenger in a plane that crashes into the water, wait until you’re outside the plane to inflate your life jacket. In 1996, a hijacked Ethiopian airliner ran out of fuel and crashed into the Indian Ocean. More than half of the 175 passengers died – many of them by drowning because they inflated their lifejackets too soon and got stuck inside the sinking fuselage. Wear flat shoes and keep them on, particularly if it looks like you’re headed for a crash landing. In the case of a fire or spilled fuel, the landing surface may be extremely hot. Keep in mind that high heels can tear the emergency slide. Don’t panic. It’s easier said than done, but remaining calm, clear-minded and alert can save your life and others’. If you or your dependents are victims of a plane crash, securing fair compensation for your injuries and losses can be tough. Commercial airlines have teams of top-dollar attorneys working to mitigate their financial losses, and governmental restrictions may be in play. So, it’s critical that you have legal representation by an experienced aviation accident attorney. Jacksonville-based Harrell and Harrell’s highly-specialized aviation accident legal team led is by a senior attorney and FAA-licensed pilot, and has successfully represented victims of military, civilian and commercial aircraft accidents against major aircraft and aviation parts manufacturers and flight control personnel. Contact us at 800-251-1111.