OddsIt’s an uncertain world. No one knows from this day to the next what will happen or what to expect. Life itself is a gamble, and we play the odds everyday, irregardless of who those odds favor. However, we still want to know if the odds are in favor or against a certain event, such as winning the lottery. In fact, it’s about three times more likely for you to be killed while driving to the store to buy the lotto ticket than it is to win the actual jackpot. You also have a higher chance of being struck and killed by lightning than you do of becoming multi-millionaire.

With yet another Final Destination movie out, the idea of death and how we may die is ingeniously implanted within our minds. We are left to ponder and question the odds of our very existence. We all know one thing for sure; the odds of dying are 100 percent; there is no way to cheat death, as the movie might lead one to believe. But what are the odds that death will occur at any given time? There are no absolute odds; the odds of dying from various causes are unique to each individual. We can easily determine the approximate chances based on the actual deaths occurring each year divided by the total population; however, these odds are greatly affected by the activities with which people take part in, the areas with which they live and drive, the type of work they do, and many other factors. The odds of being in the wrong place at the wrong time are about a million to one.

Many of us worry about death; some people never give it any thought. For instance, the odds of dying in a car accident are about 1 in 7,000. We are well aware of the risks associated with driving; yet people still drive. Did you know that people are actually 400 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than being struck by lightning? The odds that this potential lightning strike will result death, however, is only about 1 in 4 million. Even walking is safer than driving, with only a 1 in 47,000 chance of being killed. So what is the likelihood that you will wind up on a plane that crashes? Your chances of being involved in an aircraft accident are about 1 in 11 million. Once again, you assume a greater risk driving to the airport than getting on the plane itself. The odds of dying in an accident involving a train are about 1 in 142,000.

The chances of being murdered are 1 in 20,000, with 1 in 300 resulting from a firearm and 1 in 5,000 dying by strangulation. Homicides, of course, are often a concern as no one wants to die but especially not by someone else. There are dangers with which we face everyday, most of which no one ever even thinks about. For example, did you know that 4,000 people die by accidental drowning every year or that the odds of this occurring in your own bathtub are about 1 in 10,455? Were you aware that there is approximately a 1 in 105,589 chance that death can result from exposure to inanimate mechanical forces? Rare as it is, at least two people die every year from vending machines falling on them. Who would have thought? Interestingly enough, especially to me as I am a southpaw, more than 2500 left-handed people die each year from using products designed for those who are right handed. Again, who would have thought? Of course, the odds are in our favor that this will not happen; however, you have a 1 in 700,000 chance of dying from a dog bite, a 1 in 48,000 chance of dying from flesh-eating bacteria, and a 1 in 370,000 chance of dying due to choking on food (choking on toothpicks are actually more likely). Despite the fact that there exists only a one in a million chance of dying from an accident involving fireworks, take caution; you never know if you’ll be the one.

Accidents happen all the time, and at least 75 percent of these occur in our own homes, including the garden. Did you know the chances of being injured simply from mowing the lawn are nearly 4000 to 1? Were you aware that over 250,000 accidents involving hand tools occur every year? Approximately 42,000 come from hammers, 16,000 from wrenches or pliers, 36,000 from trimmers/pruning shears, and nearly 14,000 are caused by chainsaws. There are about 14,000 accidents caused by cleaning equipment, such as vacuum cleaners, each year as well. Watch out for those ladders; the odds of falling are 1 in 10,000. The death rate for workplace accidents in the U.S. is about 4 per 100,000. Men are the most likely to be killed on the job (sorry). If you’re in the logging or fishing industries, the odds of dying are nearly 30 times higher than that of a typical workplace, followed by pilots, electricians, farmers, construction workers, and truck drivers.

Staying healthy is important, and the odds are favorable that many of us will be; however, not all of us are prone to leading healthy lifestyles. The odds of dying from heart disease are 1 in 400 and of dying from cancer 1 in 600. In fact, both of these are leading causes of death in the U.S. The leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. is smoking; Studies have shown that approximately 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to smoking-related illnesses; yet, people still smoke. Of course, the odds change considerably with medical advances and other changing health-related factors.

So what are the odds of death by natural disasters? Studies show that you are more likely to commit suicide or fall to your death than to be killed by a natural disaster, such as tsunamis. The odds of a tsunami are around 1-in-50,000 for those residing in coastal areas; however, given that most people don’t live near the coast; the chances are less likely, about 1 in 500,000 to nothing at all. Earthquakes kill about 10,000 people every year, but did you know that just as many deaths occur (in the U.S.) from droughts and heat waves? The odds of this risk will gradually increase as areas get hotter, electricity usage becomes strained, and the population grows. For those who worry about our planet being struck by an asteroid, don’t fret; there’s only a 1 in 5,000 chance (presumably) that this will happen in our lifetime.

Of course, not everyone is obsessed with dying. Life is a gamble, and we play the odds each day, especially online. For instance, identity theft is one of the fastest growing types of consumer fraud today, and it’s estimated that nearly ten million Americans have been victimized. This crime is growing so much that your odds of becoming a victim have increased from 1 in 250 (a few years ago) to 1 in 20. It’s not only an easy crime to commit but just as easy to get away with (1 in 750). There is also a 7 in 10 chance of falling victim to some type of online security breach, through which criminals, especially sexual predators, can stalk victims.

What are the odds that any of these will happen to you?