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What are the odds?

We humans like to fret. We go on vacation and worry that all manner of evil things will happen to us. Plane crashes. Shark attacks. Homicides in Mexico. Catching norovirus on a cruise ship. Pirate kidnappings.

And yet, how likely are any of these travel scenarios? In What are the Odds, a new slide show on Bing Travel, we look at the statistical odds of dying from various things that frighten us. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that only one person on average is killed annually in the United States by sharks. Meanwhile, about 34,700 motor-vehicle fatalities occurred in the United States in 2010, making deadly motor-vehicle accidents a far more likely cause of death for Americans last year than dying because of a domestic airline crash, norovirus infection or being murdered in Mexico.

Do the statistics surprise you? What might you do differently knowing these odds? Post a comment below.

Robin Dalmas is a travel writer, editor and producer for Bing Travel.


  • Well, we have to be careful what we are afraid is waiting around the corner, we might as well bring it about. We just have to have fun while we can. Fear can be crippling.

  • The both of us really enjoyed your article. It appears like you've put a lot of effort into your article and the human race need much more of these on the Net these days. I do not real have a large deal to say in retort, I just wanted to comment to tell well done. marvelous post. i never thought of that.

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  • Ok no fatalities in 2010    does that raise the percentages in 2011

  • that s my country dominican republic the most dangerous city to drive u think new york is crazy?

    dare u to go there and drive but alone no whit ur family u know just in case.

  • Bad science = bad information. I do not disagree with the conclusion (I don't think)  but I have a 0 percent chance of suffering a shark or pirate attack because I do not swim or boat in the ocean (not out of fear mind you). Statistics using the population of the US makes no sense. Out of 300 million probably fewer than 50 million ever go to the beach, probably less than that enter the water and that does not even account for number of times in the water per year - or number of times out over your knees.  Please tell us what our chances are IF we are in the water, or in a plane.

  • As a very frequent flier (previously),  Airline safety data can be made to say anything you want it to say. If you look at data by miles flown, then airline travel appears very safe. However if you look at data by number of trips then, not so much. You get in your car and drive somewhere (even just down the block) a lot more times than you get on a plane. So looking at data by number of trips yields a very different answer.

  • It's not so much the fear of flying that bothers me, it's the claustrophobia of the now norm small plane that has changed my outlook on flying.  Use to have no problem with flying then the birth of the small plane that all airlines seem to use on at least one leg of the journey was brought into the equation.  Once you start breaking out into a sweat over the cramped situation and the air marshal is watching you ready to prance at any movement you make you get to where it is just not worth flying.  I claustrophobia plays more into it now as a reason than the survey allowed

  • I am 63 years old, and for the love of my life, I have no fear of traveling on any foreign and or domestic  means of travel.  The day I turned 17 years old I  was in the U> S> NAVY. I  was stationed  at Naval Air Station, Miramar, California, for 15 months. Their I was a seamen apprentice, then I was promoted to Seamen. then I volunteered for Vietnam duty. I was granted a station in Saigon, Vietnam, then i volunteered for in country intensified duty, their  got hurt, however I thank God I made it. So I say to you What are you all afraid of????? You can get killed walking across the street.. WHERE'S THE BEEF.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i REMAIN MR. ROBBINS , RETIRED ,  PETTY OFFICER  THIRD CLASS, AND VERY HAPPY. AND I AM 63, HOWEVER  I AM IN EXCELLENT SHAPE AS GOOD AS ANY 35 YEAR OLD . HAVE A GREAT DAY EVERYONE...

  • Very interesting way statistics are figured.   Take the entire population of the United States and divide that number by  shark attack fatalities?  The entire US population is not going to swim in ocean waters.   Try to guess the number of people actually swimming in the ocean and divide that number by the number of shark fatalities.

  • I had a vacay nightmare. Went to Mexico - was there 4 hrs at a resort on my birthday and slipped on very slippery wet marble floor and a  resort. Broke a knee in tow pcs, spent 4 days in a cantina looking clinic where I spoke no English. Drugged up and scared shitless, having needles poked in me every 2 hrs. - given surgery by a quack who didnt even put wires thru my bones but tissues and then charged me $8000 on my credit card. Came back to the states  and was informed I had to do it all over again due to his quack surgery .  Now im in a fix - lost thousands of dollars even though I had ins and travelres, who lied about the amount of coverage they would cover, and my knee is messed up for life, and I have no recourse, no one to sue, not the hotel or the surgeon as they are in Cozumel and Im in the states. Just out cash and ruined for life.

    I do believe its a scam- there are plenty of people who also slipped and fell that week on the same wet tile, ambulances running ,, and a clinic near by - not unusal as I ran into others in the states this same thing happened to.

    This is a scam , never stay in a hotel with marble floors.

    They were even in the bathrooms and showers, they may look pretty but they are deadly,

    Im lucky I didnt hit my head and die.

  • I am REALLY scared of flying. I am surprised that there is only 25% of fear of flying peoples.

  • I will never fly unless it is life or death. Rude air natzi stewerdess's, check in agents who don't give a d.., baggage fees,s, have to pay to get a decent seat, sitting on the tarmac for hours...,not to mention outragious fares,

    NO Thanks

    A. Shaw

  • As a former female corporate captain in the 1960's I had to break in some real dick-head males who were, not only anti-feminine[ist]; but also, airsick-n'-scared-to-fly-with-HER!!  I always schlepped these wimps into the right front seat and began a mother's gentle touch-and-see what it does; turn/climb; faster; slower, etc. hands on to break the barriers of fear.  That's the only way to attack fear and get through it.  It worked for my passengers because my psychological makeup was strong enough to overcome this barrier; and teach a person to respect flight for what it is; and not to take their fear out on the captain with insultive statements instead of the truth.....DUH, I'm scared to death, here, I didn't say Geronimo, I said I don't wanna go with HER.  It took two or three short flights and I won em over every time.  I never had a failure.  Misunderstanding can be devastating to the personality and this kind of fear is no different than fear of going to the dentist or going under the doctor's don't have control.  SO, GIVE EM SOME CONTROL, show them they can handle it; it's not going to drop out of the sky when they see the wings flopping in a gust of wind and, they won't crack off the plane; they are 'supposed' to flop up and down.  At the end of this........I had all happy riders in our corporation, half of them felt comfortable enough to even sleep.  Scared people need to fly with Captain Marvelous here!!

  • Great slide show! I get people ask me "is it safe" questions all the time. There is always a risk with everthing, even at home.

  • You can die going out of the cinfines of your home . Just about the otherday

    crossfire of gangbanger's , I feel this way after 5o'ish sergury at 64 age I am

    lucky anyway blessed to life .

    We have to live our lives in fear or not we need too do our thing .

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