If you’ve ever flown, you’ve probably seen it: white knuckles gripping the armrest, eyes squeezed shut, the gasp as the plane hits some turbulence.
Or maybe that was you.
Either way, that fear and worry is misplaced. The National Safety Council says you’re 862 times more likely to be killed in a car crash than an airplane crash.
In fact, we often worry about the wrong things.
Get nervous when a thunderstorm pops up? Your chance of being killed by a severe storm is 1 in 6,780. And the likelihood of being killed by a lightning strike is just 1 in 164,968. Compare that to a 1 in 144 chance of dying in a fall or from a prescription painkiller overdose (1 in 234) or even just walking down the street (1 in 704).
“We’re far more likely to be killed or injured by things we do every day without thinking about them,” says Jean Calhoun, corporate safety manager at Unum. “And the good news is there are many simple steps we can take to increase our safety and minimize the risk of a serious accident.”
- Choose a designated driver, if alcohol may be involved.
- Wear your seatbelt. Even just going around the corner.
- Watch the speed limit, and leave a safe distance between your car and the one in front of you.
- Put down the cell phone. Duh.
- Keep medications and chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
- Wipe up spills on kitchen and bathroom floors right away.
- Never take more than the prescribed amount of any drug.
- Chew before you swallow. We’re not kidding: Choking on food is a primary cause of suffocation, the fourth-leading cause of unintentional injury death.
- If your company has trained first responders, be sure to know the emergency number to call for assistance when needed. If not, suggest a training course to the boss.
- Know where the nearest fire exit is.
- Watch your footing in stairwells and the parking lot.
- Use the right equipment and use it correctly. A desk swivel chair is a poor substitute for a step stool.
And for heaven’s sake, buckle up before you head home.