The National Safety Council has released it's 2010 list of "what's gonna get yah" based on data from the 2006 census and health statistics:
So here is the break down:
0. Dying from Death. You have a 1:1 chance of dying from something. Get used to the idea. Your only hope is putting it off as long as possible.
1. Heart Disease will take 1 in 6 of us. Tick Tock. It's more common in Women than most people think. There are lots of simple things you can do to reduce your risk of dying this way:
2. Cancer, The Big C, is a close second, taking 1 of every 7 of us. Eat organic, avoid irritants, injury, the sun, and the amazing number of products containing possible carcinogens.
3. Stroke gets 1 in 28. Note that stroke (blood not flowing) is different than heart disease (blood not pumping). Avoid long periods of not moving followed by sudden activity, keep regular aspirin on hand.
Which brings us to my personal favorite, which is UP this year from 5 to 4:
4. Motor-vehicle Accidents kills 1 out of every 85 of us. Think about that. If you love 85 people, one of them is going to die on the roads at some point. I personally know 2 people already who died in cars, but lucky for me, I didn't love either of them. The first spun out on "black" ice in a car going WAY too fast on a windy road in Oregon and was hit by a flat bed truck. They had just passed our school bus and all us kids got to see a good lesson on the consequences of unsafe driving. Jay was an ass, but it was still sad that he died. The second was my old bosses daughter... he was also an ass, but no one deserves to loose a daughter. Actually, technically, she wasn't killed; but brain dead is dead in my book. They held on to her body for a while before they unplugged her.
Airplanes kill 1 in 5,862, Lightning and earthquakes are down in the 1 in 100,000 range. Terrorism doesn't even make the list this year. It was in the 600,000's last time if I remember correctly.
One terrorist attack changed our laws, personal freedoms, and way of looking at the world forever. 9/11 killed less than 3,000 people. About 60,000 people die on the roads every single year. More than 40,000 per year on the freeways and then an unknown additional number on surface streets. And unlike heart attack, cancer, and stroke, cars kill young people more often than old.
Have any of us checked out any of these sites?
You may notice a bias in those .gov websites: They concentrate on the behavior of the driver, and give second place to the safety of cars. Why? Industry pressure? Pocket Politicians? Perhaps; but I think the truth is more interesting: As cars become safer, drivers adapt and take greater risks, eliminating the life saving effect of the industry regulations. Don't agree? Ok, but read these before you decide:
Guess what? Despite all the improvements in car safety since the '60s, the death rate has stayed within a percent of the current number! When it comes right down to it, the 4th biggest killer in our country is:
YOU (and me)
...when we drive.
Please consider these possibilities:
1. Try to find a job that allows you to telecommute or just work from home. It's green, it's frugal, it's safer. It took me 10 years of working on my boss to do it, but I finally got to telecommute, and he is as happy with it as I am.
2. On the freeway, don't bunch up with the other cars; find the empty space between the lemming packs and stay as far away from the other cars as you can. Leave more space in front and look for the "escape routes" you can aim for to avoid a collision. If someone tailgates, just speed up or move over if it's safe, otherwise tap your brakes three times; the goal is space, not enforcement or "teaching anyone a lesson".
3. Driving is a full occupation time. No talking, texting, eating, primping, dreaming, or raging. (yes, I know I'm a hypocrite) To help stay focused, make a game out of playing "what if" and thinking about your response to unexpected dangers. Be afraid every time you drive. You should be.
4. Mass transit is many times safer than individual commuting. Take a train, bus, etc... Even in California, it can be done. The extra walking is healthy.
I'm preaching to myself as much as anyone else here... I hope we listen.