15 Deadly Survival Myths That Can Get You Killed

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In the realm of survival, separating fact from fiction is crucial to staying alive. While urban legends and misconceptions about surviving dangerous situations persist, relying on them can prove fatal.

Social media users shared their insights on misguided survival myths, debunking these misconceptions to ensure you don’t fall prey to dangerous advice.

Here are 15 survival myths that can get you killed if followed blindly.

#1 The Desert Is Hot and Little Clothing Is Best.

Beautiful exposure done in the desert with its colorful red color over sunset over the sands dunes
Image Credit: Paulofcosta /Depositphotos.com.

It’s a common misconception that wearing less clothing is better in the desert. =The reality is quite the opposite.

Covering up during both the day and night is essential, as the sun can quickly lead to sunburn and dehydration. Additionally, desert nights can be surprisingly cold, increasing the risk of hypothermia.

Staying adequately covered can protect against both extremes.

#2 Running in a Zigzag To Outrun an Alligator.

Image Credit: zmachacek /Depositphotos.com.

The zigzag tactic against alligators may sound like a plausible escape plan, but it’s far from effective.

Alligators don’t chase prey for long distances. Trying to zigzag will only waste your precious energy, making it easier for the alligator to catch up. Instead, moving away calmly and swiftly in a straight line is best.

#3 If You’re in a Tornado, Open All Your Windows To Equalize the Pressure.

Empty clear room with window overlooking forest. Window overlooking forest. Room in country house with forest view
Image Credit: alexmak72427 /Depositphotos.com.

This advice is dangerously wrong. Opening windows during a tornado creates a wind tunnel effect that can lead to the entire roof being torn off.

Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a basement, and put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

#4 Moss Grows on the North Side of a Tree.

roots of an old tree in the forest
Image Credit: lusyaya /Depositphotos.com.

The notion that moss solely grows on the north side of trees, to be used as a compass, is inaccurate. Moss can grow on any side of a tree, depending on environmental factors such as humidity, sunlight, and moisture.

Relying on moss for navigation can lead you astray.

#5 Lightning Never Strikes Twice in the Same Place.

Image Credit: zmachacek /Depositphotos.com.

Contrary to this myth, lightning can strike the same location multiple times, especially if it has found a path it likes to the ground. That’s why lightning rods exist – to attract and safely redirect lightning strikes.

#6 Changing Your Voicemail if You’re Lost in the Woods.

Image Credit: kate_ivanova /Depositphotos.com.

The idea of changing your voicemail message before going out is flawed. To change your voicemail, you’ll need to be connected to a cell tower, in which case, changing your VM is probably not the best way to ensure you’re rescued.

In an emergency, your top priority should be reaching out for help. Instead, inform someone you trust about your plans, set up a check-in time, and rely on the emergency number, 911, which works on any cell tower.

#7 If a Shark Is Coming After You, Swim Away.

Fish made from points and lines on dark blue background, animal wireframe mesh polygonal vector illustration
Image Credit: severynvlad.gmail.com /Depositphotos.com.

Contrary to popular belief, swimming away from a curious shark might escalate its curiosity further. Instead, try to calmly and carefully redirect the shark by running your hand along its side and positioning it to swim away from you.

#8 Follow Flying Birds To Find Water.

Large group of flying racing pigeons against a clear blue sky.
Image Credit: fotocorn /Depositphotos.com.

Birds can fly for various reasons, and they may not always be leading you to water sources. Relying on birds as a water-finding guide might leave you high and dry.

#9 Be Quiet To Be Safe From Avalanches.

Aerial view of snow covered terrain in mountain area.
Image Credit: oiramn /Depositphotos.com.

Sound does not trigger Avalanches, so staying quiet won’t prevent them. Instead, focus on learning proper avalanche safety protocols and equipment when venturing into avalanche-prone areas.

#10 Rationing Water in a Hot Environment.

Glass cup and jug of cold water on a silver tray next to pool
Image Credit: ImageSupply /Depositphotos.com.

Dehydration can be deadly. Don’t wait too long to hydrate.

Drink when you’re thirsty and actively search for more water sources if needed. Rationing water excessively can lead to severe health risks.

#11 Drinking Untreated Water in the Wild.

wet stones among the water stream in the autumn forest
Image Credit: jozzeppe /Depositphotos.com.

Water may look clean, but it can still contain harmful pathogens. Always treat water by boiling it, using water filters or purification tablets to ensure it’s safe to drink.

#12 Eating Everything Animals Eat.

Little cute red squirrel eating nut in grass.
Image Credit: zmachacek /Depositphotos.com.

Animals can consume foods that are toxic to humans. Avoid eating unfamiliar plants and berries without proper knowledge or guidance to prevent poisoning.

#13 Drinking Alcohol To Stay Warm in Freezing Conditions.

Glasses with wine and cocktail on the table in a cafe
Image Credit: Kireyonok /Depositphotos.com.

Alcohol can give a false sense of warmth but increases the risk of hypothermia. In cold environments, it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption.

#14 Seeking Shelter Under Trees or Gazebos During Lightning Storms.

Image Credit: zmachacek /Depositphotos.com.

Taking shelter under trees or gazebos during a thunderstorm can be extremely dangerous, as they can attract lightning strikes or even catch fire. Stay indoors or seek shelter in a secure, enclosed structure.

#15 Moving After a Severe Car Crash.

KHARKIV, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 26, 2022 - A damaged military vehicle is pictured on the outskirt of Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine.
Image Credit: Ukrinform /Depositphotos.com.w

If you’re involved in a severe car crash and suffer injuries, avoid moving unnecessarily. Moving limbs or adjusting your body can worsen injuries, potentially leading to internal bleeding or other complications. Stay still and call for emergency medical assistance.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

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Image Credit: deagreez1 /Depositphotos.com.

Debunking these survival myths can help you make better decisions and improve your chances of surviving challenging situations. Always prioritize factual knowledge and preparation to stay safe in the face of adversity.

Inspired by this social media thread.

Featured Image Credit: EdZbarzhyvetsky /Depositphotos.com.

This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

Ash & Pri are the Founders of AshandPri.com and have spent the last decade building their way towards financial freedom and a lifetime of memories. Having successfully achieved their early retirement goal in under 10 years, they look forward to sharing their financial sense with like-minded people. Read more about Ash & Pri in the 'About Us' section.