When it comes to our health and safety as humans, we tend to underestimate real threats and exaggerate the ones that are highly unlikely to occur. For example, we think that mass shootings, earthquakes, and shark attacks are prevalent, when we’re actually far more likely to die as a result of a simple mistake in our own homes.
This isn’t meant to scare you, but it should highlight the importance of maintaining a cautious, yet healthy approach to the decisions you make daily. In doing so, you can enjoy a happier, healthier, and – if you’re lucky – longer life.
Living Life on the Edge
According to data collected in a recent Travelers Risk Index, 52 percent of people believe the world is getting riskier. And while the biggest cited concerns have to do with macro political and financial issues, the reality is that we face much greater risks in our everyday lives.
If you zoom in and take a micro look at the environments you put yourself in, you’ll find that your biggest risk factors are tied to things like the following:
1. Car Accidents
Millions of people have a fear of flying, yet very few are scared of riding in a car. This is despite the fact that nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes globally each year. (For perspective, just 500 people died in airplane crashes in 2018.)
In the United States alone, 37,000 people are killed – and an additional 2.35 million injured – in car accidents. This amounts to daily averages of 101 deaths and 6,438 injuries.
While it’s safer than ever to be a driver on a public road, it’s still one of the highest risk situations. If you want to lower your risk of injury or death, you should be mindful of when and how you drive.
As Jonathan Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers explains, “The safest time on the road is between 4 and 5 AM, there is only 9% of the average amount of traffic during peak hours on the road at that time, so with less traffic on the road it is predictable that accidents are less likely to occur. The weekends have the highest number of crash victims.”
Obviously it’s not very convenient to restrict your driving to these hours, so you’ll need to implement some other safety tips to lower your risk during normal hours of operation. For one, stop driving distracted. Put the phone down and focus on driving. Secondly, wear your seatbelt. Should you end up in a high-impact collision, this will significantly reduce your injuries. Thirdly, don’t speed and follow all traffic rules. They exist for a reason.
2. Identity Theft
In 2017, nearly 7 percent of consumers became victims of identify fraud. That might not sound like a ton of people, but it essentially amounts to 1 in 15 people. When you look at it that way, it’s a pretty significant number.
As more and more personal information moves online, the risk of identity theft only increases. Cybercriminal activity is at an all-time high and you don’t want to become the next victim. Here are some suggestions to limit your exposure:
- Only use secure internet connections when conducting sensitive online activities.
- Never give away personal information to sources you don’t know.
- Place a lock on your credit so that nobody can open up credit in your name without approval.
If you do these three things, you’ll be lightyears ahead of most people. It won’t absolve you of risk, but it will keep you safer.
3. Screen Fatigue
What are you doing right now? Chances are, you’re staring at a screen. Whether it’s a smartphone, computer, or tablet, you’re eyes are being exposed to blue light and it may be contributing to something known as screen fatigue (or digital eye strain).
“If left untreated, symptoms will not improve on their own and will likely get worse,” Miss FQ explains. “Not to mention the mounting research signaling that too much blue-light exposure found in our screens interferes with our body’s ability to set our circadian rhythm, i.e. our sleep patterns.”
We have no way of knowing how dramatic the impact of screen fatigue will be after 25 or 50 years of exposure. The best thing you can do is reduce your exposure and practice smart, eye-healthy behaviors that prevent premature damage.
Start by limiting the amount of screen time you take in each day. Put down your devices and head outside, read a book, get some exercise, or play a board game. As you wean yourself from this digital addiction, you’ll find that your eye health (and overall health) will improve.
Put Your Safety First
The intent of this article isn’t to make you walk around in fear. It should, however, make you aware of some of the threats that you face each and every day. By making a few small tweaks to your habits – like how you drive, or how you manage sensitive information in online settings – you can significantly reduce your chances of being injured (or worse). Take some time to consider your personal risks, and develop proactive plans for increasing your safety in these areas.