Risk

Every day another disaster. It is easy to forget while questions are being asked and blame is being thrown around, that we will all one day die of something. Those spectacular disasters that make the headlines in which many people die are usually not the causes of most deaths. Plane crashes are very rare and train crashes even more so, but these disasters make the headlines and can dominate the news for months with long drawn out investigations, while car crashes, which kill many more people, usually kill one people at a time, and because we have more power of the process of driving a car than flying a plane, somehow it seems to cause less nightmares. Most people die like this, one at a time, instead of all at once in great events of mass death.

When thinking about the risks we face in everyday life, we should remember that most risks are due to our own habits and lifestyles. The table below shows the risks associated with various activities.

Risk of Dying From

Heart Disease

1/3

Cancer

¼

Traffic Accident

1/180

Poisoning

1/600

Fall on Stairs

1/700

Fire

1/1600

Electrocution

1/20,000

Dog Bite

1/100,000

Air Travel

1/27,000

Medical X - Rays

1/40,000

When you are thinking whether to drive to Scotland, or take the train or plane, you should bear in mind that the major cause of accidents is human error. Planes and trains have lots of safety devices built in to make humans partially redundant as operators, and human error much less likely. Your car on the other hand, has only one backup safety device: YOU!

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