Internet Shares Survival Myths That Can Kill You: ‘Don’t Ration Your Water’

Commenters gathered at a popular internet thread to discuss common survival myths that can actually get you killed.

The post, shared by u/kuroi_sny to Reddit’s “Ask Reddit” forum, made its rounds with more than 35,000 upvotes and 13,000 comments, many of which involved myths about natural weather events and what to do if one gets lost.

While there is not one survivalist handbook, many of the common survival myths are learned through word of mouth or by seeing something attempted in movies or on television.

But with the average American believing they can survive in the wilderness alone for two weeks, it is important to research any hacks to ensure it is the best approach to the situation and not just a commonly believed myth.

Users share dangerous "survival hacks" on Reddit
Hundreds of users shared popular survival myths in a viral Reddit thread which received 13,000 comments. Many commented on how unsafe it is to shelter under a highway overpass during a tornado.
Octavian Lazar/iStock

Some of the responses mentioned common survival techniques that are actually false, such as the myth that it’s best to run in a zigzag pattern to outrun an alligator.

“Alligators don’t run for long distances, so this will probably just waste your energy,” one user commented in the popular thread. “They can also climb some fences and trees as well.”

Another user mentioned that some people believe that it is best to open all windows during a tornado to “equalize the pressure” inside.

“If you’re in a tornado opening any window or door will create a wind tunnel that rips your entire roof off,” the user explained about the survival myth.

Rather, users explained that it is important to go to the lowest part of the building or a room in the center of the house rather than a place with openings or windows.

“Overpasses are not safe places to shelter. In fact, they’re more dangerous. They create wind tunnels,” another user commented.

One user mentioned that a local news crew in Kansas survived a tornado by sheltering under a highway overpass, starting a new myth about tornado safety with people believing that underpasses were a safe place to seek shelter.

“To this day many people will leave their houses and head to the nearest underpass when a tornado warning is issued,” the comment read. “A depressing number of these people have been killed.”

Multiple other users chimed in about weather-related and natural disaster survival myths, including several popular myths about avalanches.

The user mentioned that many have been told that people should stay quiet to avoid avalanches and that they strike at random without any signs.

“Sound does not trigger avalanches. Even very loud sounds are nowhere near enough,” the user wrote. “Avalanche control is done with howitzers and dynamite charges.”

The user also mentioned that avalanches almost always show signs of instability but that the signs are often ignored because there are a lot of false positives that never result in an avalanche.

Many other myths involved whether or not an individual should avoid dirty water or ration clean water if they find themselves lost and without resources.

One user mentioned that although water might look clean, it is still important to boil or distill it to ensure it is clean. Others mentioned that it is better to drink when thirsty than ration clean water, as many people think to do.

“If you’re in a hot area, don’t ration your water, drink when you feel thirsty and search for more water.”

“Ration sweat, not water,” another user commented.

Another user explained that people have a “significantly higher” chance of dying by rationing water rather than drinking when thirsty.

“Most people who die of dehydration in a desert situation typically are found with water they could have drank,” the user wrote. “Rationing your water often kills you.”

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