Interfax news agency is reporting the second aviation disaster this year involving Malaysia Airlines, following the March 8 disappearance of Flight MH370. Flight MH17 was reportedly shot down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. There are 295 people onboard. As of this writing, 22 bodies had been rescued from the wreckage.
Given the proximity in time between Flight 370 and Thursday’s plane crash, the aviation industry is likely to take severe hits, in both a security and financial sense — to say nothing of Malaysia Airlines on its own. But if psychology has anything to say on the fear of flying, it’s in dismantling people’s plaguing case of negativity bias. Basically, negative memories stick out like sore thumbs compared to positive memories, which means fiery plane crashes burn brighter than safe landings.
Here are five harmless activities that are statistically more dangerous than flying, which carries a one in 11 million fatality risk.
1. Killed By Lightning
Near the bottom of the National Security Council’s 2014 list of Injury Facts is one of the least likely natural causes of death: getting struck by lightning. According to the organization’s data, you have a roughly one in 136,011 chance of dying from a lightning strike. (To say nothing of the people who get struck and survive.)
2. Lefty Killed Using A Right-Handed Product
Each year, roughly 2,500 left-handed people die as a result of using products intended for right-handed people, or roughly 20 times the chance of death than flying on an airplane. A study conducted in 1991 found lefties are less likely to make it to old age — the downside of living in a right-biased country.
3. Killed While Taking A Bath
Data from 2002 shows your chances of dying in the bath tub are (more or less) one in 818,015. Specifically, this number represents your chance of drowning in the tub. It doesn’t consider the other strange ways — bubble bath asphyxiation, ham radio electrocution, or cracking your skull on the way in.
4. Killed By Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease
This one’s too serious to ignore, unfortunately. Each year, bronchitis and emphysema kill around 11,000 people, or 100 times the fatality risk of flying your average commercial airliner. Most people who suffer from these illnesses smoke. Others work in dangerous conditions where smoke is present.
5. Killed By Walking Outside
Forget walking to your car, driving to the airport, and flying somewhere. Just leaving your house is risky enough. The National Highway Transit Safety Authority found that in 2012, some 4,743 people were killed in pedestrian accidents, each as the result of getting hit by a car. If you live in a major city, the statistic confirms the conventional wisdom: You’re more likely to die on the way to the airport than you are while flying. Safe travels.