This infographic shows how you’re most likely to die

Accident Claims Advice has made an infographic of the ways in which people often die, and figured out the odds of each one happening to you.

How will I die? (Image: Big Think)
There's some good news and some bad news. (Image: Big Think)

If you’re the sort who worries about accidental death—instead of the “on purpose” kind?—you’ve probably got a range of potential demises in mind. But how realistic are these fears? Well, Accident Claims Advice (ACA) in the U.K. crunched the numbers and some widely held worries are mostly unfounded. For example, an American is more likely to become President of the U.S.—the odds being one in 10 million—than get eaten by a shark, which is one in 11.5 million.

On the other hand, there are lots of other fatality causes that have not been scaring us enough.

Here’s a good one for people afraid of flying. We’ve long heard that air travel is safer than traveling by car, but this is better: At odds of 1 in 5,730, you’re more likely to strangle yourself in bed than die in an airplane crash, at 1 in 9,821.

Some stats are genuinely alarming, such as the odds of being shot in the U.S., which are 1 in 358 as opposed to in the U.K, where the odds are a vanishingly small 1 in 1,018,182. And, of course, the odds of dying of heart disease or cancer are 1 in 7, and from lower respiratory issues 1 in 28. And 1 in 95 people—that’s a lot—wind up deliberately killing themselves.

Here are some interesting comparisons worth noting:

  • You’re far less likely to die as an occupant of a bus (1 in 79,815) or on a train (1 in 172,1414) than you are in a car (1 in 470).
  • Tripping over your own feet is less likely (1 in 4,949) to kill you than falling down the stairs (1 in 1,884), but falling off a ladder (1 in 8,514) is the safest way to pay a sudden visit to the floor.
  • You’re much more likely to be electrocuted (1 in 54,989) than hit by lightning (1 in 161,856).

The very worst odds are, of course, of dying at all: They’re a lousy 1 to 1.

ACA’s research in infographic form


A historian identifies the worst year in human history

A Harvard professor's study discovers the worst year to be alive.

The Triumph of Death. 1562.

Credit: Pieter Bruegel the Elder. (Museo del Prado).
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Harvard professor Michael McCormick argues the worst year to be alive was 536 AD.
  • The year was terrible due to cataclysmic eruptions that blocked out the sun and the spread of the plague.
  • 536 ushered in the coldest decade in thousands of years and started a century of economic devastation.
Keep reading Show less

Humanity's most distant space probe captures a strange sound

A new paper reveals that the Voyager 1 spacecraft detected a constant hum coming from outside our Solar System.

Voyager 1 in interstellar space.

Credit: NASA / JPL - Caltech.
Surprising Science
  • Voyager 1, humankind's most distant space probe, detected an unusual "hum" in the data from interstellar space.
  • The noise is likely produced by interstellar gas.
  • Further investigation may reveal the hum's exact origins.
  • Keep reading Show less

    For $50, convert your phone into a powerful chemical, pathogen detector

    A team of scientists managed to install onto a smartphone a spectrometer that's capable of identifying specific molecules — with cheap parts you can buy online.

    Photo of the constructed system: top view (a) and side view (b).

    Technology & Innovation
    • Spectroscopy provides a non-invasive way to study the chemical composition of matter.
    • These techniques analyze the unique ways light interacts with certain materials.
    • If spectrometers become a common feature of smartphones, it could someday potentially allow anyone to identify pathogens, detect impurities in food, and verify the authenticity of valuable minerals.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast