Which Is Safer: Skydiving or Driving

Which Is Safer: Skydiving or Driving

Published: March 20, 2017

Most of us have spent time in a car every single day of our lives--and in the driver's seat since age 16. That has the effect of making that daily drive more routine than toothbrushing. That said: 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. It's the killer...and nobody, it seems, is afraid of it. When you bring up skydiving, however, you get a predictable result: the same person that spent half the drive to the coffee shop texting gets all freaked out about how dangerous it is.

Guess what? It's not.

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. This video sums up the proportional risk of skydiving pretty brilliantly, but we'll scribble it all out for you nonetheless.

1. It's Not Just About Playing The Numbers.

Let's start with what we think is the most important thing to remember: Living a risk-free life is not possible. If you go all-out trying to take the risks out of your life--at the expense of the experiences that enrich it--you're going to stifle the reasons that life is worth living. A well-lived life requires you to take measured, calculated, intelligent, life-affirming risks.

And tandem skydiving is just the ticket.

2. The Numbers Don't Lie.

The United States Parachute Association, of which Skydive Finger Lakes is a proud member, has been steadfastly collecting statistics since the early days of the sport. Those stats prove mathematically that skydiving is not only safer than most "extreme" activities, it's technically safer than some really mundane ones--and it's only getting better with time.

It's not just the USPA that supports this claim. According to the data gathered by the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning than he or she is to be killed on a skydive. And that statistic isn't just for first-time jumpers; it includes everybody--even boundary-pushing athletes that make a hundred jumps a month or more! Tandem skydiving, naturally, is even safer.

Driving? Well: the numbers, my friends, are hardly that good. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you can expect to be involved in an accident at least once every ten years. (Those other pesky cars on the road, right?!) Two to three of those incidents will involve injury. When you crash, there's 1-in-20 chance that the crash will involve a serious injury. Let's hope it's the other guy.

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

Skydiving Fatalities in the US

Driving Fatalities in the US

Total Number of Fatalities in 2015



Fatality Rate


*per 3.5 million jumps


* per 100 Million VMT

Avg Fatalities Per Day



*Data Sources: USPA and NHTSA

3. You Have A Top-notch Chauffeur.

The tandem instructors at Skydive Finger Lakes are boss. They've been safely conducting tandem students from the plane to the ground for hundreds (in some cases, thousands) of jumps. They understand the ins and outs of the procedure and the equipment like second nature--and they'll make sure you understand what's going on, too. They're the primo chauffeurs of the sky, making the road down just as smooth as can be, so you can watch the landscape slip past the windows of your eyes.

4. For Something That's Safer Than Your Weekly Grocery Run, There's A Huge Payoff.

You may be wondering... is tandem skydiving scary? Of course it is! But you have everything to gain from getting brave. Jumping from an aircraft, miles above the mundane world, is to literally leap from your comfort zone. Making a tandem skydive affords you the chance to stretch out your perspective. It's an act that lets you peek at what you're truly capable of...and it's statistically safer than driving to pick your kids up from school!

If you have any questions--about safety, or anything else--we're here to answer them. Don't be shy!