People Dispel Common Survival Myths That Could Get You Killed
Zdeněk Macháček/Unsplash

We are living in an age where misinformation is readily accessible and is wrongly implemented to disastrous effect.

Specifically harmful are the ones that entail spurious tips on how to survive in moments of peril.

Curious to hear what some of those might be, Redditor standardgenre45 asked:

"What is a survival myth that is completely wrong and could get you killed?"

These involve conserving your available resources while they last.


"Rationing water is generally a terrible choice - drink what you have until it’s gone. Use that time with good hydration levels to take stock of your situation and make good choices."

"Decision making and physical ability drop off very quickly when you are dehydrated. The first decisions you make after realizing you are in a survival situation are critical and pay long dividends."

"Most survival situations are resolved within 72 hours and many hikers are found dead in the desert with full water bottles."

– RangerActual

Not Peeing Enough Is Bad

"I used to work with a guy who spent much of his Air Force career teaching survival to aircrews and I remember him saying, 'Ration sweat, not water.' He said to conserve energy and avoid doing physically strenuous things like constructing a better shelter during the day, but keep drinking water. His other maxim was, 'If you're not peeing, you're not drinking enough.'"

– LuckyOldSon

Save Your Battery

"Changing the voicemail on your mobile phone to tell incoming callers about your plight. That bullsh*t just wastes battery"

"At the first sign of trouble, send a SMS with your best location details to everyone on your contact list, even if you have no signal and set it to max power save with WiFi, Mobile Data and Bluetooth off. Your phone will continually try to get the SMS out if even if you get a little signal for a few seconds and will use a lot less power doing it."

– cruiserman_80

You might keep these in mind when it comes to someone trying desperately to stay afloat.

Drowning Survivors Take Note

"Perhaps not really a myth, but something people may think is true after watching people get rescued from the water on TV. 'get them breathing and send them on their merry way.'"

"If you rescue someone from a near drowning, they still need to go to the hospital, even though they are safely on land now."

"The lungs are coated with a slippery mucous like substance called a surfactant. It's kind of a lubricant and it keeps them from collapsing and sticking to themselves. If they ingested a lot of water into the lungs, chances are they have washed away the surfactant. Their lungs could collapse at any moment and their ability to uptake oxygen is reduced. Get the survivor on oxygen."

"source: rescue trained scuba diver here."

– EatDiveFly

Interpreting The Signs

"Drowning people do not cry for help or make gestures to try and get someone’s attention."

"What they are doing is trying to stay afloat and trying to catch their breath; never count on a cry for help!"

– goddavid22

Come Equipped

"It usually looks like someone is trying to climb an invisible ladder with their hand barely above the water, and unless you're a world champ water polo player, do not approach without a floatation device. They are desperate and you will become their floatation device, which can result in both of you drowning."

– mahboime

Driven To The Depths

"If you go into a lake when in a car dont wait until the car fills with water, just open the window and get out ASAP. If you wait, you could be 200 feet down or flipped over on the bottom. The power will still work for a short time. It only takes a few seconds."

"Edit - Source: must buddy did his master thesis on exactly this and I got to practice it several times in a pool."

– discostud1515

Never stick to the obvious when trying to provide aid in traumatic situations.

Look Out For Other Signs

"This is true of trauma/injuries too. People who are seriously hurt aren't usually the ones screaming and flapping around. They'll more likely be in shock or losing consciousness. If you are on scene at a large accident like a traffic collision or something and it's safe to help, look out for the quiet people"

– Sionain

The Quiet Victim

"Yep. Was involved as a passenger in a very nasty car wreck. The drivers were yelling and screaming. I was calm, matter of fact, and quiet. I remember the medic asking me what was on the airbag and I calmly said, 'That’s part of my tongue I bit off. Can you please help me out so I can walk this off?' Yeah, I had eight broken ribs, a 16 inch gash in my leg, a fractured trachea, and more. I was completely calm until about two hours into it at the ER."

– The_Curvy_Unicorn

Bears are cute...until they tackle you.

Don't Underestimate Them

"That bears can’t run down hills. They can. They’ll get you too."

– [deleted]

They're No Joke

"I was actually going to try and find this fact and what do you know, it’s at the top!"

"Bears are no joke, they run, climb and swim like a damn CrossFit junkie jacked up on meth."

"Another thing is they don’t gas out quickly, I’ve seen videos of bears running full speed than swimming across a river and running full speed again to catch prey."


– djd1985

Speculation is rampant on the internet and it's important to do thorough research before applying supposed survival tips.

Better yet, hopefully you're not in any of the predicaments stated above that involve you resorting to questionable survival guides.