20 Popular Survival Tips That Might Be More Harmful Than Useful, As Shared In This Online Thread

Published 3 years ago

Has anybody ever told you a certain remedy to cure something but it turned out to be more harmful than effective? There are many life-saving myths that are so popular that nobody even questions them. It just gets passed on from person to person until someone actually decides to verify it.

Someone asked on r/AskReddit, “What is a survival myth that is completely wrong and could get you killed?”, and people started listing some survival myths that are impractical or harmful rather than beneficial. Scroll below to see some of the things that were listed in the Reddit thread, and pass on the information to your friends!

More info: Reddit

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Image source: westglade

“DO NOT DRINK YOUR PISS!!! I don’t give a sh*t what Bear Grylls says…

Albeit, you can briefly drink your piss before getting sick, but urine is literally your body flushing out toxins from your squishy innards. Relying on drinking urine will make you more dehydrated than before, get you extremely sick i.e. fever, infection, etc. and can lead to kidney and liver damage/failure so as a survival myth it’s probably one of my favorite to see people try.”


Image source: JakeRyback18

“After getting bitten by a snake trying to suck out the venom, do not do that, by sucking the area of the bite your blood flows faster and increases the speed off the venom acting on your body, it’ll just get to your heart quicker and kill you.”


Image source: Slavic_bumpkin

“Do not try to leave a deserted island if you are stuck, you will almost certainly die before someone spots you.”


Image source: SanibelMan

“If you’re driving during a tornado warning, don’t get out of your car and climb up the side of an overpass to hide under a bridge. This myth became famous after amateur video of a man and his daughter hiding under an overpass, but the one they chose had some unusual construction that offered them protection in a way most don’t. Wind speed increases the higher you get from the ground, and the narrow passages can create a wind tunnel effect, taking the flying debris picked up by the tornado and sending it straight through you at 200 mph or more.”


Image source: rowman25

“Building a raft to sail to civilization if you ever find yourself marooned on a deserted island. Stay on the island and be found alive vs never found or found dehydrated and dead of exposure.

Also walking to safety if you get lost and your car breaks down. Stay with the vehicle. They always find the vehicle. It’s inhabitants… not so much.”


Image source: Siriuxx

“If a bear finds you, run down hill. They can’t run down hill.

I have to imagine some ass**le started this when he wanted to watch his other ass**le friend get mauled to death. They can absolutely run down hill and they are SHOCKINGLY FAST. They can also run up trees terrifyingly fast as well.

FYI the mama bear thing really applies to brown bears. Black bear attacks are incredibly rare and usually only from hungry and/or aggressive males. I’ve done a lot of wildlife photography of bears and I’ve spoken to a lot of wildlife biologists about this. When I photograph black bears and their cubs they are very docile. If something or you spook them, they will chase their cubs up a tree and then guard the bottom of the tree. They won’t attack you. If it’s a male black bear they’ll likely wonder on but always keep distance. If you encounter a black bear make as much noise as possible and make yourself seem as big as possible. If you encounter a brown bear start very slowly backing up. Never run away and never turn your back. If it’s going to attack you and there’s nothing nothing can do, lay on your stomach with your hands over the back of your neck and play dead. They primarily attack when they are surprised or threatened. If the surprise/threat is gone they will most likely move on.

But please for the love of God never run away and never climb a tree.”


Image source: eslforchinesespeaker

“If you’re wandering in the wilderness, wondering if the plants and water are safe to eat and drink, watch what the animals do. they will show you the safe plants and water.

spoiler: this is not true. many animals are evolved to consume things that are poisonous to us, or nutritionally valueless.

case in point: vultures”


Image source: NuckingFutsWinx

“Here’s a good one: If you’re in an elevator in freefall, DO NOT JUMP. It won’t make your landing easier, it’ll probably paralyze or kill you. Lay yourself flat to try and distribute your weight (as well as the pressure of the crash) more evenly. You’ll give yourself a better chance at survival this way.

I mean, it’s an elevator, so no guarantee you’ll survive, but still small chance is better than none!”


Image source: fall_and_green

“If you get stabbed by something, DO NOT try to remove the object. You will make it worse and potentially bleed to death, depending on where you were stabbed, if you try and pull it out. Leave it be and get help.”


Image source: davidvidalnyc

“If trapped/lost in snowstorm while driving: A) Do Not Leave Your Car. You are literally inside a shelter ALREADY. A SHINY one! It is easier to spot a snow-covered vehicle, than a snow-covered corpse.

B) Do Not Keep Your Engine Running. It’s a snowstorm, your exhaust will block, you will nap. Snugga-bugga, you’re dead. Wait for storm to pass, check exhaust is clear, run engine in short bursts.

C) If you have ignored these steps, and are now walking in the snowstorm, because your sense of direction is “flawless”, Do Not Remove Any Clothing Layers! You WILL believe you are getting Hot. You WILL rationalize it’s from burning calories. You WILL die. The “Hot” feeling is you losing body temp. You are now slooooowly dying. If you still have your wits, retrace your steps and head STRAIGHT back to your car.

Wait for rescue.”


Image source: RangerActual

“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.”


Image source: harrymurkin

“In Australia at least, you do not need to identify or try to catch the snake that bit you. The antivenin is universal.”


Image source: EatDiveFly

“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.”


Image source: SalFunction12

“I don’t know if this counts as survival myth but you don’t actually have to (and probably shouldn’t) wait 48 hours to report someone as missing. Those first hours are crucial so report someone as missing immediately.”


Image source: nowhereman136

“Don’t tie a rope around your waist and expect it to save you from a fall. Sure, it might prevent you from hitting the ground, but you can still damage your internal organs and break your back doing this. Safety harnesses go around your hips and legs, not your waist.”


Image source: Ehzabeth

“Don’t drink water from cactus, it’s not potable and likely to trigger vomiting/diarrhea and you will get more dehydrated.”


Image source: cardamom_poppies

“Most people probably are aware of this, but if you’re legit suffering from diarrhea, you need to be doing more than just drinking water because you’re also losing a lot of salts/electrolytes and not replenishing those can really f*ck you up.

You can make a pretty basic Pedialyte/Gatorade at home from adding 6 teaspoons of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt per liter of water. It won’t taste super great, but you can throw in other flavorings to mask it like lemon juice or similar.

I did peace corps in a tropical region and most of the volunteers came to dread the inevitable parasite/gi infection episodes not just because of being incredibly sick but also because of having to drink liters and liters of ORS, which is peace corps’ preferred pedialyte knock off haha.”


Image source: scoopdiddy_poopscoop

“If you get caught in a forest fire, that you can survive by finding a big depression, or cave and waiting for the flame front to pass. You’ll die from suffocating as the fire consumes all the oxygen. You have a much better chance of running through the flame front. Protect your eyes, face, and especially your airways, cover as much of your skin as possible. The main things are to protect your eyes, mouth and nose. Pick a line with the least obstructions, and where the fire will burn less intense. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and run, you’ll know once you’ve made it through. Most people will gasp or try to breath in once they hit the flamefront, that’s why you gotta protect it, otherwise you’ll take in a breath of super heated air, instantly blister your lungs and drown in your own bodily fluids.”


Image source: mjohnsimon

“For the love of god do not eat everything raw.

If I see another episode of Bear Grylls eating a bat or bird as raw as sashimi, I think I’ll go crazy.

You should absolutely try your best to cook the food you’ve nabbed. Even if it’s through an open fire for a few minutes. Eating, say, a dead bird that may or may not have bird flu is a hell of a lot worse than creating a fire to cook it over. Congrats for completely screwing yourself by eating raw wild meat!”


Image source: bobbi21

“Alcohol does not warm you up. You feel warm since its dilating your blood vessels in your face and extremities but that causes you to lose more heat to the environment and therefore will make you die of hypothermia quicker if anything.”

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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dangerous myths, myths, myths that could get you killed, survival myth
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