Top 10 Least Likely Ways You Can Die

We all know the most common ways people die. Heart disease, cancers and various other chronic diseases are the usual suspects, as our body ages. There are however, some very unusual ways for people to die, which have been blown out of proportion by the media. Below are 10 such ways you are very unlikely to die of.

10. Drowning in a bathtub

Most people find a nice warm bath at the end of a long day relaxing. Some people even amp it up by getting alcoholic drinks to sip on while kicking back in their bubble baths, even finding bathtubs comfortable enough to fall asleep in. For others, holding their breath underwater in the bathtub seems like a fun and challenging thing to do. Most of us have tried it at some point in our lives, especially if there’s a bathtub in the house we can pretend to ‘dive’ in.

There are those among us that are terrified of dozing off and going under in the bathtub, fearing that we might drown. Drowning in the bathtub, however, is a relatively unusual way to die. There is only 1 out of 685 thousand possibility of dying due to drowning in a tub, and 80% of this 1/685,000 percent are infants that were left unattended. If you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, don’t have a history of seizures, and are larger than the size of a seven-year-old human, the odds of dying in the tub is almost zero.

Chance of drowning in a bathtub: 0.00000029% chance (for an adult).

9. Falling off the bed

We all have heard stories about how a friend or relative of someone falling off the bed while asleep. This unfortunate victim unknowingly hits the hard floor, leading to head trauma, coma, and sometimes never waking up again. This has made some people terrified of high beds, with some parents banning double decker beds altogether. Others use alternative beds like tatami mats instead of the usual singles and queens.

It’s hard for an adult to fall off their bed in the first place. Adults have a well-developed proprioception, the instinct of the body to sense its position in relation to the environment. This means there is a very little chance of dropping off the bed as the body sends the signal even if it’s asleep. Our body moves only occasionally to adjust to a ‘safer’ position if we somehow wriggled around in our sleep.

It is a different story for children, however. As their proprioception is not fully developed, they could drop off the side of the bed sometimes, but usually it’s nothing too serious as long as they did not land on their heads. Parents, just be sure to pad the floors with something soft if you feel unsafe.

As a result, there’s only a 1 in 2 million risk of death by falling off their beds every year, with the most likely age group being children and the elderly.

Chance of death due to falling off your bed: 0.0000001% chance (for an adult).

8. Food poisoning

Food poisoning is a common illness which usually happens to us when we eat improperly cooked or unclean, unwashed food. Almost every person has gotten food poisoning at least once at some point in their lives. The usual symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and sometimes, a slight fever. Most occurrences clear off by themselves within a couple of days, but there are cases when the body’s immune system is too weak to fight off the naughty bacteria, virus or parasite causing the infection.

When that happens, the invaders begin a hostile takeover of the patient’s body, causing unpleasant symptoms such as prolonged diarrhea lasting more than 3 days, intense dehydration due to the diarrhea and high fever of over 38.5 °C (101.3°F). A doctor should be appointed quickly to take care of the sick person, or that person could die. Medicine to fight off the foreign attackers would be used as soon as the doctor can figure what’s actually causing the symptoms.

As severe food poisoning rarely happen unless a person has a compromised immune system due to illness such as HIV, deaths related to food poisoning is extremely rare, happening at a rate of only 1 out of 3 million cases.

Chance of death due to food poisoning: 0.0000003% chance.

7. Snake bite

Snakes are one of the feared creatures on the planets. Preferring to slither off rather than face humans, snakes are usually non-confrontational in encounter with us. Most snake bites are usually non-poisonous, as only one-fifth of all known snake species are venomous.

A chomp from a poisonous serpent usually cause the bitten area to swell and become discolored within minutes. Although some toxins only cause these symptoms after a few hours, most occur within ten minutes. Most people usually seek medical attention immediately from the shock of being bitten by a snake, so these injuries are usually attended to quickly.

Antidotes have been developed for most types of snake poison, and as long as a person is given treatment in time, it is really hard to die of a snake bite. Sadly, there are fatal cases of snake bites, with a rate of 1 in 3.5 million cases. These fatal cases are usually due to allergic reaction to the venom from the bite, rather than the venom itself.

Chance of death due to snake bites: 0.00000029% chance.

6. Terrorist attack

With the Internet and news going on about the war on terror, and sensational media going on about all the deadly bombings going on, it’s not hard to imagine that there are crazies who want to bomb other innocent people running all over the place.

This, however, cannot be further from the truth. Terrorist attacks like 9/11 and Unabomber are far and few between. Statisticians estimate that we have a 1 in 9.3 million chance of being killed in a terrorist attack, which is much rarer than the chance of dying in a more mundane way, like dying in a car accident, (1 in 8000 chance). Hey, maybe that’s why car insurance are more expensive and common than terrorism insurance.

Since the media usually electrify news of terrorist attacks happening, people tend to exaggerate the chance of a terror event actually happening. An average of 3.2 people die for every heavily reported terrorist attack, for 2000 deaths a year. Most homemade bombs don’t detonate, and when they do, they are usually too far out of reach of any humans to cause any harm, usually just bombing trash into the air.

Chance of death due to a terrorist attack: 0.000000108% chance.

5. Nuclear plant radiation

Horrific nuclear accidents like Chernobyl remind us daily why we should not play with nuclear energy. However, as supply of fossil fuel continue to deplete, more and more countries are turning to alternative sources of energy, including nuclear.

Nuclear radiation is deadly, as it can directly destroy living cells, or cause the DNA of cells to alter. Mutated cells create rouge groups of cells that cause cancer. Unless a person is directly absorbing the radiation, it is more likely to die by cancer from exposure to radiation.

While acknowledging the risk of possible death by radiation for plant workers and nearby residents, the cost of possible harm done to workers versus the cost of running out of energy entirely was weighted, and the former was considered the lesser evil. Although the images of people dying of cancer from the radiation long after the explosion had passed were terrifying to most, the reality is that only 1 in 10 chance that people are killed by nuclear plant radiation. This make death by radiation highly unlikely for most of us.

Chance of death due to nuclear plant radiation: 0.0000001% chance.

4. Lightning strike

There’s an old saying: Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Although actually untrue, this common phrase is used to comfort peeps who experienced bad luck that it would soon pass and things would get better.

Despite comical depictions cartoon characters being charred by electricity for the laughs, it does nothing to eliminate people’s fears of being struck by the bolt of electricity from the sky. From concerned parents warning their children to not play outside in the rain to others who insist on not using their mobile phones during a thunderstorm, it is easy to see how concerned people are regarding accidental death by a lightning strike.

Lightning strikes, however, causes a low rate of fatality in the world, since lightning human contact is extremely rare. This works out to be about 1 in 10 million chance of death by lightning. In other words, there is no reason to fear a little drizzle.

Chance of death due to a lightning strike: 0.0000001% chance.

3. Plane crash

Plane crashes are one of the top fears of people. Dying in a plane crash seems like a scary proposition: the plane could disappear into the ocean, be smashed into pieces in some forest floor miles away from civilization, or people could be sucked out into the skies from a hole in a plane.

Fortunately, plane crashes are extremely rare. From software that automatically fly the plane after initial manual takeoff to auto-maintaining aircraft stability, most plane actually fly on autopilot on most of the time. This causes less human errors from pilots due to fatigue, and only taking over manually when needed to.

The survivability rate of plane crashes is also extremely high: 95.7%, according to the US National Transportation Safety Board. This makes dying in a plane crash very unlikely, only a 1 in 11 million chance.

Chance of death due to a plane crash: 0.000000091% chance.

2. Falling coconut

Coconuts drop from their parent tree when they are ripe. With a hard shell and heavy weight, coconuts are deadly projectiles when dropped from the coconut tree (usually about 60 to 90 feet tall, or over 10m tall).

Although rare, falling coconuts took the lives of 150 unlucky people every year. If you live in a tropical country which grows these refreshing fruits, there is a 1 in 250 million chance that you can be killed by a coconut flying straight down when you walk under one of these trees.

Most people living in or travelling to tropical regions do not experience death by coconuts, so you are (probably) safe too. Just try not to walk under a tree.

Chance of death due to falling coconut: 0.000000004% chance.

1. Shark attack

Since the release of the movie Jaws, being shark chow has been a common fear for many people. When the movie was showing in the cinema, people have reported feeling extreme stress while watching the film, as the great white moved around stealthily, devouring numerous people along the way.

In real life, shark attacks are extremely rare. Less than 100 incidents of shark attacks occur annually, with only about 60 percent of the attacks being unprovoked, with half being fatal cases. In comparison, some 100 million sharks are killed annually for their fins to make sharks’ fin soup, a Chinese delicacy, which is a hundred percent fatality for the sharks.

Although shark encounters are rare and being attacked by one is even more unlikely, water sport players and holidaymakers should keep an eye out for these creatures, especially surfers and divers when in the ocean.

Chance of death due to a shark attack: 0.0000000003% chance.

Bonus: Roller coaster derail

Final Destination 3 opened with a group of teenagers killed in a roller coaster ride in a carnival. The scream machine derailed, killing all thrillseekers on board. This black comedy film, while hilarious, portrays one of the most common fears of people: death by roller coaster.

Death by roller coaster accidents are extremely rare, and death by a derailed ride is even more unlikely. Most deaths in theme parks are caused by human error, like forgetting to strap down before going for a ride, or due to a visitor’s existing health issues.

Most roller coaster rides are tested rigorously with sandbags before being deployed for real people, and are inspected at least once every year by a qualified personnel. Tracks are also replaced whenever necessary to keep the rides running as smoothly as possible.

No theme park or carnival wants a death and bad publicity on its hands, so most owners are very careful to maintain their reputation to keep visitors coming. Due to these various reasons, the chance of getting killed by a derailed roller coaster ride is 1 in 300 million.

Chance of death due to roller coaster: 0.0000000003% chance.

Are there any more unlikely ways to die? Leave your comments below!

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