What’s most likely to kill you? Check out your odds for National Safety Month


cartoon of a business man hanging on to a rope above swimming sharks

It’s National Safety Month, which is a great time double down on safety both at work and at home. But where to start? One way to think about safety practices and injury prevention is to focus on the types of injuries that are most common and most likely. With the summer approaching, expect that any day now we will start seeing alarming stories about shark danger. While no one wants to get attacked by a shark and it’s certainly good to take precautions, in reality, there’s a greater chance you will die by choking on your lobster roll than by being eaten by a shark. Media attention to sensational stories about crime, disasters and unusual tragedies tend to distort our sense of what the real risks we face actually are.

The National Safety Council puts things in perspective in this short video:

The purpose of insurance is to offer you financial protection from accidental risks and calamities that may befall you. But even when you are properly insured, it’s still in your best interests to try to manage those risks as best you can because insurance may not make you whole – particularly when the risk involves life and limb. We often don’t do a good job of managing our risks. Sometimes, what we fear the most is actually less risky than other common every day occurrences. Human nature being what it is, people often worry more about rare events and can be too casual about dangers that are more pervasive.

Learn the top causes of unintentional injury and death in your homes and communities from the National Safety Council, or see this chart and learn more on Mortality and Risk from the Insurance Information Institute.

Plus, check out one of our most popular past posts: What are the odds? Mortality calculators, where we various tools and calculators that let you assess your mortality. Don’t miss one of the web’s longtime favorite sites, the Internet Death Clock, where you can calculate optimistic or pessimistic estimates of how much time you are likely to live.

Despite the odds, one sad fact remains: None of us get out of here alive, so as the late Warren Zevon advised, “Enjoy every sandwich.” And as long as you are thinking about odds, it might also be a good time to think about taking care of your survivors:

Life Insurance Survey: Most people have too little.

A few other past posts on the topic of risks and dangers

 

What’s Actually Dangerous?


The purpose of insurance is to offer you financial protection from accidental risks and calamities that may befall you. But even when you are properly insured, it’s still in your best interests to try to manage those risks as best you can because insurance may not make you whole – particularly when the risk involves life and limb. We often don’t do a good job of managing our risks. Sometimes, what we fear the most is actually less risky than other common every day occurrences – so human nature being what it is, people often worry more about rare events and can be too casual about dangers that are more pervasive. What’s really dangerous? This graphic about danger and “20 surprising safety statistics” illustrates that point pretty well – we found it interesting so thought we’d share. Click here to view a larger version and the source.

whats-actually-dangerous-infographic

Watch out for America’s 100 most dangerous roads during your summer travels


What season is most dangerous to drive, winter or summer? If you said winter, you join about 83% of surveyed Americans. But the reality is that the three months of summer have the highest auto accident rates, accounting for about one in three fatalities. And as we’ve discussed before, Saturdays in August are some of the most dangerous days to drive.
When it comes to summer driving safety, there are definitely some spots that are hotter than others. The Daily Beast crunched the numbers on data 5 years of data from the National Highway Safety Administration to come up with a list of 100 U.S. interstates most likely to generate a fatal crash.
For another take on unsafe roads, you might turn to SafeRoadMaps, which offers a variety of interactive maps to tracks fatality data . See their report on states with the most rural summer hotspots (PDF).
Jon Burner of Forbes recently wrote an interesting article about America’s fastest roads – highways where speeds often exceed 90 mph. While many of these roads tend to be long, straight highways in desolate areas, but the article cites some notorious urban areas too:

“The fastest road near an urban area is California Route 73, a six-lane freeway in Orange County that connects Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano through the San Joaquin Hills. While the speed limit on that stretch is 65 miles per hour, the fastest 5% of drivers average speeds around 82 miles per hour over 17 miles of roadway.
Inrix’s statistics also show that New Yorkers really do drive fast. The Westchester County suburbs of New York City are home to the fastest road in the eastern U.S. — and one of only two East Coast roads that made the list. Drivers on the winding, heavily traveled Saw Mill River Parkway frequently reach speeds of 78 to 85 miles per hour between the towns of Elmsford and Hawthorne, despite the 50-mile-per-hour speed limit.
Connecticut has the fastest stretch of Interstate highway in the country, according to Inrix. Over a one-mile distance on Interstate 84 northeast of Hartford, the fastest 5 percent of drivers routinely flaunt the 65-mile-per-hour speed limit by driving 85 miles per hour.”

For more on deadly roads, see our prior post about the deadliest US roads – which includes a bonus breath-taking video on Bolivia’s death road, called the most dangerous road on earth.

The deadliest U.S. roads


Fox news just issued their list of The Top Ten Deadliest Stretches of Road in America. To compile this list, they analyzed five years of crash reports to determine which roads had the highest number of deadly accidents. For those of us in New England, the good news is that none of those roads are located here. California has four roads on the list; Florida and Arizona both have two roads on the list; and Texas and Nevada both have one. See a comparison chart of all states auto fatalities and fatality rates.
But New England drivers shouldn’t relax. Nearly 60% of all highway deaths occur on rural roads, and two New England states appear on a 2005 report of states with the highest percentage of rural road fatalities:

  • Maine (92%)
  • North Dakota (90%)
  • South Dakota (89%)
  • Iowa (88%)
  • Vermont (88%)
  • Montana (86%)
  • Wyoming (84%)
  • South Carolina (83%)
  • Mississippi (82%)
  • Arkansas (81%)
  • West Virginia (80%)
  • Minnesota (72%)
  • Wisconsin (68%)

If you’d like to check the safety of the roads in your neighborhood or on your commuting route, there’s a terrific tool developed by University of Minnesota researchers which allows you to do just that. It combines information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System with Google Maps to offer a visual representation of traffic safety across the U.S. You can enter an address and view the roads that have the highest number of traffic fatalities in a specified area, or you can view data for your state.
Most dangerous road in the world
As treacherous as some U.S. roads can be, they pale in comparison with Bolivia’s Death Road, a 60 to 70 kilometer mountainous stretch between La Paz and Coroico, which is often cited as the most dangerous road in the world. It’s been the subject of numerous televised reports – watch a 6 minute clip: