Human beings aren’t terribly adept at evaluating risks. While we perceive some things as fraught with peril — like walking down a dark downtown street — we ignore others.
For instance. I live in an inner-city neighbourhood and have walked Edmonton’s streets at night many times. I’ve never had a problem. While growing up in Windsor, Ont., I’d often attend evening events in nearby Detroit. Again, despite Motown’s murderous reputation, I never faced any danger.
On the flip side, statistics show that more than 1,900 Canadians died in motor vehicle accidents in 2013. A further 165,306 people suffered injuries, including 10,315 that were classified as serious.
Yet, few of us get into a sweat at the thought of driving to work each morning, or heading to the local shopping mall with the kids on a weekend. It’s just an accepted part of daily life. Here’s another example of the wonky way we humans assess risk.
Remember that horrific railway disaster that shattered the town of Lac-Megantic, Que., in July of 2013? A train carrying a volatile grade of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation careened off the rails in the centre of town, triggering a fiery explosion that left 47 people dead.
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