In the April 1996 issue of DISCOVER, the editors worked some statistics into "A Fistful Of Risks" -- a section that punched out the possibilities of everything from being clobbered by a comet to having your bicycle stolen. Some of their findings are surprising. Take a crack at the following quiz and find out your Risk Awareness Quotient (RAQ). (You can assume the questions pertain to the United States unless otherwise noted).
The correct answers, are at the end, but don't let them alarm you: risk calculation is dicey at best, because averages don't reflect individual circumstances -- and because the future needn't always reflect the past.
1. What is your risk of home foreclosure in the next 12 months?
1 in 24 1 in 345 1 in 720 2. Which of the following is most likely to happen to you?
Being struck by lightning Being infected with flesh-eating bacteria Being injured in an elevator ride 3. At which establishment are you most likely to be poisoned, if you eat in Minnesota?
Fast-food restaurant Delicatessen Mexican restaurant 4. Which of the following is most likely to kill you in the next 12 months?
Drinking detergent Dog bite Snake bite 5. Which of the following is least likely to happen to you?
Winning the Irish Sweepstakes jackpot? Contracting the Ebola virus, if you're an African Dying in an earthquake or volcano 6. Which of the following accounts for the most childhood accidental deaths?
Fire Choking Poisoning 7. Which of the following takes the most off your life expectancy?
Driving once without a seat belt on Drinking one diet soft drink Smoking one cigarette 8. What is the safest state for driving? Iowa Wyoming Rhode Island 9. What are the chances, in the next 12 months, that you will be murdered?
One in 50,000 One in 32,000 One in 11,000 10. What is the risk of your being wiped out (with nearly everybody else) next year by a catastrophic comet, meteor, or asteroid impact?
One in 750,000 One in 20,000 One in 15 million
ANSWERS 1. Ans. 2: risk of home foreclosure is 1 in 345.
2. Ans. 2: lightning 1 in 750,000, flesh-eating bacteria 1 in 700,000, elevator 1 in 6 million.
3. Ans. 3: Fast-food 1 in 440,000, Delicatessen 1 in 240,000 Mexican 1 in 136,000.
4. Ans. 2: Detergent 1 in 23 million, dog bite 1 in 20 million, snakebite 1 in 36 million.
5. Ans. 2: Irish Sweepstakes 1 in 5,245,786, Ebola virus 1 in 14 million (for an African), Earthquake or volcano 1 in 11 million.
6. Ans. 1: fire 15%, choking 3%, poison 1%.
7. Ans. 3: Driving without seatbelt 6 seconds, one diet soft drink 9 seconds, one cigarette 12 minutes.
8. Ans. 3: Rhode Island.
9. Ans. 3: 1 in 11,000.
10 Ans. 2: 1 in 20,000.