When faced with the slim chance of navigating safely through a dangerous asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo famously says “never tell me the odds”. In a Hollywood film, this fearless gung-ho mentality seems pretty cool—but in real life, it's wise to be cautious and know what sort of situation you're getting into. After all, when you're not the protagonist in a movie, the odds of something bad happening to you tend to increase dramatically.

“Never tell me the odds!”

As boring as they may seem on the surface, statistics can help us to understand day-to-day risks, and to use this analysis to improve our odds of survival. And honestly, some statistics and probabilities can be pretty interesting in the right context. For example, the following infographic compares several unlikely causes of death, so you can properly understand the actual risk involved.

When floating in the ocean, many of us fear shark attacks. Bungee-jumping and skydiving seem like extremely dangerous activities. Death from food poisoning sounds like a reasonably-common problem. However, all of these risks are minimal compared to much more ordinary dangers. Check it out:

Infographic causes of death 1
Infographic causes of death 2
Infographic causes of death 3
Infographic causes of death 4

Obviously, take all of these unlikely causes of death with a grain of salt. If you never go skydiving, your risk of death from skydiving is zero. If you swim 50 laps every day, your risk of drowning in the pool skyrockets. If you drink in excess constantly, your risk of alcohol poisoning will inevitably rise. So, don't just assume that you can speed around on a motorcycle 24/7 because it's much “safer” statistically than walking. Many other factors come into play here.

Nevertheless, it's useful to remember that some activities we assume are extremely dangerous are actually quite safe. On the other hand, activities that seem mundane—like scarfing down a burrito for lunch—could easily lead to your untimely demise.

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