Did you know that a person’s probability of dying increases by two-fold every eight years? For example, if a 25-year old individual has a 1 in 3,000 odds of dying, it goes up to 1 in 1,500 by the time they hit the age of 33. The likelihood continues to rack up with age until it turns into a reality.
Those figures seem small, and they are since they’re a generalized estimation. However, they skyrocket once you factor in specific causes of death, such as car accidents.
That’s why knowing one’s chances of dying in a car crash can serve as an eye-opener for many people. After all, experts agree that most, if not all, motor vehicle accidents are preventable. Meaning, it’s possible to lower the odds of dying in a crash if everyone did their part in keeping the roads safe.
We’ll talk about these car accident statistics and risks in further detail below, so be sure to read on!
How High Are Your Chances of Dying in a Car Crash?
Quite high, as the lifetime odds of getting in a fatal car accident in 2018 was 1 in 106. Granted, that’s almost 18 times less than the lifetime odds of dying due to heart disease. However, it’s still 10 times higher than the chances of dying due to drowning.
The odds of dying in a car crash per year were 1 in 8,303 back in 2018.
How Is the Probability of Dying in a Car Crash Calculated?
The chances of dying in a car crash are statistical averages over an entire population. It factors in the number of deaths due to a certain cause and the current life expectancy.
Let’s use the formula for getting one-year odds as an example. To arrive at the answer, you need to divide the population by the number of deaths. In 2018, the US population was 327,167,434, while the motor vehicle deaths numbered 39,404.
So, 327,167,434 divided by 39,404 equates to 8,302.89, rounded off to 8,303. That’s why the one-year odds of dying in a car crash in 2018 was at 8,303.
As for lifetime odds, it involves dividing the one-year odds by the life expectancy. In 2018, the life expectancy of people born that year was 78.7 years. So, 8,303 (2018’s one-year odds of dying in a car crash) divided by 78.7 years equate to 105.5, rounded off to 106.
The Limitations of Probability Statistics
The published odds of getting or dying in a car crash aren’t set in stone. They can be lower or higher, as the chances of dying depend on a person’s age, activities, and behaviors.
For instance, teen drivers (16 to 19 years old) are almost three times as likely as drivers 20 or older to be in a fatal crash. The death rate among male teen drivers is also twice higher than the rate for female teen drivers.
Another example is driving drunk or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.0%. Driving with a BAC of 0.02% to 0.05% raises a person’s risk of dying in a car crash by up to three times. This applies to motorists of all ages, regardless of gender.
Reducing Your Odds of Getting in a Crash
Motor vehicle accidents claimed an estimated 16,650 lives in the first half of 2020 alone. If this pans out, it will represent a decrease of 338 deaths from the count back in the first half of 2019’s. Experts associate this drop with the decrease of road users during that time.
Those figures prove that reducing the risks of crashes and fatalities is doable. The lower your odds are of getting into a crash, the less likely you’d end up googling “car accident lawyer near me.” Most importantly, you can avoid sustaining severe or even life-altering injuries.
Aside from not drinking and driving, here are other ways to lower your odds of getting into a car crash, fatal or not.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road and Your Hands on the Wheel
New teen drivers can be up to 8 times more at risk of a crash or a near miss when they dial their phone. Even just reaching for their phone while they drive can make them 7 to 8 times more likely to get into a crash. Texting while driving also heightens their odds of getting into a crash by four times.
By contrast, adults can be up to two times more likely to crash or experience a near miss when they dial a phone.
Those should be good enough reasons to stay away from distractions while you drive.
Get Enough Sleep the Night Before a Drive
Drowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 to 328,000 vehicle collisions each year. About a third of these result in injuries, nearly 6% of which are fatal.
Worse, sleeping for an hour less than the recommended sleep time can already raise your risk for a crash. According to scientists, crash risks doubles when a driver misses even just one to two hours of sleep. Driving after getting only four to five hours of sleep can have the same crash risks associated with a BAC of 0.08%.
With all that said, be sure to get enough ZZZs every night, especially if you’re driving the day after.
Drive Only if Your Ride Is up to It
Between 2005 and 2007, vehicle malfunctions resulted in an estimated 44,000 accidents. Some were due to tire problems, while others were due to faulty brakes or steering. A few were a result of defects in transmission or engine systems.
Either way, driving a malfunctioning vehicle can put you at a higher risk of a crash. This is why you should always pay attention to your car’s condition, such as tire tread and pressure. You should also replace or repair faulty components, especially those in brake systems.
Stacking the Odds in Your Favor
A 1 in 106 chances of dying in a car crash is one too many. That’s why it’s always in your best interest to be a safe, prudent, and responsible driver. Drive with full focus on the road and don’t drink or stay up too late if you’re going to drive.
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