1 In 84 Odds Of Dying In A Car Accident

January 19, 2012 by staff 

1 In 84 Odds Of Dying In A Car Accident, Shark attacks, raging fires and deadly bacteria all sound scary. But how do you know which calamities to worry about and which to ignore?

Everyone moves through life with different risks. Your own need to worry depends on a variety of factors, including age, where you live, how much you travel and your daily activities, noted Dr. James K. Hammitt, professor of economics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Consider this: it’s estimated that 150 people around the world die annually from falling coconuts. That’s more than double the estimated 62 annual shark attacks worldwide. But if you’re a person who regularly swims in shark-infested waters and you never stand under a coconut tree, then the average odds obviously don’t apply to you.

Take a look at the following chart, which we’ve put together from a variety of sources. It shows the total number of deaths annually due to various disease-related and accidental causes, as well as an average individual’s lifetime risk for a given health worry. On the scariest day of the year, maybe this will help put it all in perspective.

Risk Annual Deaths Lifetime risk
Heart disease 652,486 1 in 5
Cancer 553,888 1 in 7
Stroke 150,074 1 in 24
Hospital infections 99,000 1 in 38
Flu 59,664 1 in 63
Car accidents 44,757 1 in 84
Suicide 31,484 1 in 119
Accidental poisoning 19,456 1 in 193
MRSA (resistant bacteria) 19,000 1 in 197
Falls 17,229 1 in 218
Drowning 3,306 1 in 1,134
Bike accident 762 1 in 4,919
Air/space accident 742 1 in 5,051
Excessive cold 620 1 in 6,045
Sun/heat exposure 273 1 in 13,729
Shark attack* 62 1 in 60,453
Lightning 47 1 in 79, 746
Train crash 24 1 in 156,169
Fireworks 11 1 in 340,733

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