How Do You Really Survive an Elevator Accident?

The state of the universe.
July 30 2014 11:49 AM

The Truth About Elevator Deaths

They are vanishingly rare—but that doesn’t stop people from debating the best way to survive a sudden fall. 

120202111AW034_AS_DEFAULT_D
Picture taken on May 3, 2012 of the elevator shaft at the Pre-Columbian and Indian Art Museum (MAPI) in Montevideo where, in a false mezzanine accessed only via this place (C), workers fixing the elevator found packages of documents apparently put there when the building housed the Ministry of Defence -- which worked here until the end of the Uruguayan military dictatorship (1973-1984). The documents were handed to the Monitoring Department of the Uruguayan Peace Commission which investigates cases of violations to human rights during the military regime. AFP PHOTO/Pablo PORCIUNCULA (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/GettyImages)

Photo by PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/GettyImages

Each year, fewer than 30 Americans die in elevator accidents​, making them among the rarest causes of accidental death. But elevator anxiety is very real, inspiring movies, TV shows, and spirited debates about the best way to survive a sudden plunge.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 2:56 PM How Faithful Is David Fincher’s Gone Girl?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.