Man in red life vest and hat standing in natural quicksand.

10 Things People Perceive as Dangerous but Are Actually Pretty Safe

Some activities and situations seem very dangerous when, in reality, they don't pose the risk you might think they do. These might be non-intuitive, but the following things are safer than people tend to believe.

Using a Sharp Knife to Chop Food Is Safer Than Using a Dull Knife.

Man cutting tomato on cutting board with knife.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

It goes without saying that we should all be careful when using any kind of knife, but the danger to our digits while preparing food comes more frequently with the use of a dull knife—not a sharp one. The explanation is in the physics: a sharp knife has the ability to “grip” what you’re cutting, whereas a dull knife can much more easily slip from the surface of the food, cutting your hand or finger in the process. 

Trick-Or-Treating on Halloween Is Pretty Harmless.

Children trick or treating on Halloween.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

Parents often have a long-standing fear of finding drugs or razor blades in their kid’s candy after a night of trick-or-treating. But they probably don’t have much to worry about. This occurrence is not common at all, with only a few malicious instances ever being reported since trick-or-treating became popular. (Not to mention—it’s a lot of work AND money spent.) The bigger risk to trick-or-treating children is the possibility of being struck by a vehicle due to poor visibility.

Air Travel Is Very Rarely Ever Fatal.

Airplane in the sky at sunset.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

You may not know this, but flying by airplane is the safest form of travel available to humans. You are far more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane crash because they occur so rarely. The most dangerous moments during a flight are take-off and landing, and most other issues can be resolved in the air, with you being none the wiser to the malfunctions.

To put it all into perspective, in 2022 there were only 5 fatal accidents among 32.2 million flights, which is a percentage of 0.000016% according to the International Air Transport Association.

Eating Food That Is Slightly Out of Date Probably Won’t Hurt You.

Young woman shopping in the grocery store and Reading ingredients or sell by date.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

We live in a society that relies heavily on regulatory standards for our food, and part of this includes expiration dates. Whatever is printed on the food product has to be correct, right? Well, not always. Manufacturers are required to print a date that is consistent with FDA regulations, meaning that these dates are often subjective because it’s a conservative estimate.

The bread, yogurt, or pack of meat you bought last week is probably fine to eat a few days after the date. Just remember to check for weird smells or obvious mold—that doesn’t bode well.  

Microorganisms Aren’t Always the Scary, Mutant Germs We Make Them Out to Be.

Black and white image of bacteria cells.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

Microorganisms contribute many benefits to humans. From bacteria to yeast to fungi, our bodies depend on many different microbes to function. Naturally, there are good and bad microorganisms, but the majority of them are benign and, in fact, helpful to our immune systems. Our bodies contain about 38 trillion microbial cells and about 30 trillion human cells, meaning that we, on average, have 100 times more microbial DNA than human DNA. These guys are here to stay and, needless to say, are vital to our health.

Tandem Skydiving Is One of the Safest Extreme Sports You Can Do.

Two people sky-diving together.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

Because the safety regulations are so advanced, tandem skydiving has had rate of only 0.003 fatalities per thousand jumps in the last decade. With those statistics, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning or win the lottery. Instructors undergo intense training and adhere to the strictest safety standards in the field. Furthermore, the technology involved in tandem skydiving is reliable and precise, helping jumpers accurately sense altitude and speed of descent. The computers are also equipped with a sensor that will automatically deploy a reserve parachute if the jump reaches a critical moment.

Nuclear Power Is Much Safer Than You Realize.

radiation sign in the woods.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

It’s easy to believe that nuclear power poses a threat to humanity; after all, most of us have heard many horror stories, from the catastrophic Chernobyl incident to the warning of global leaders armed with nuclear weapons. The mere word “nuclear” seems ominous.

However, nuclear power has proven to be an excellent solution to the issue of limited fossil fuels as well as a source of green sustainability. Not to mention, more people die each year from coal, oil, and gas than have died from nuclear energy in 50+ years, according to Our World in Data.

Wolves, Mountain Lions, and Black Bears Are Unlikely to Attack Humans.

A black bear surrounded by grass in a forest.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

You may be surprised to learn that attacks from these animals are rare. But in general, most wild animals feel more intimidated by humans than they do to follow an instinct to pursue us as prey. They would rather just leave us alone. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise caution around wild animals, but overall, attacks from them are rare. 

Most bears will actually retreat before you are even aware of them, according to Bearsmart. Wolf attacks are so uncommon that you can find an exhaustive list of them on Wikipedia. The Center for Human-Carnivore Coexistence states that wolves represent little threat to humans unless people habituate them by providing them with food.

The Mountain Lion Foundation states that mountain lions prefer to avoid humans. While you do need to be aware if you live in an area with mountain lions, attacks are so rare that you're more likely to drown in a bathtub, be killed by a pet dog, or be stuck by lightning.

Quicksand Is Not as Prevalent or Life-Threatening as You’d Think.

Hand sinking in quicksand, trying to get out.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

In fact, it’s quite difficult to die from being trapped in quicksand. While it may feel as though you’re being sucked under, quicksand doesn’t work in this way and rarely creates a real danger. It’s just sand that behaves like a liquid.

Quicksand is denser than the human body, making it nearly impossible to die in it. To escape quicksand, you simply make small movements to gradually work yourself out of it. Don’t let the 80’s movies trick you into believing quicksand is a life-threatening phenomenon that you can’t escape.

Visiting Third-World Countries Doesn’t Always Pose a Huge Risk.

Group of kids in Democratic Republic of Congo waving at the camera.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

Most third-world countries get a bad rap, whether because of poor economies, high crime rates, government corruption, and more. Despite this, many of those countries are still relatively safe for travelers as long as you exercise caution and common sense.

Many of the hazards present in third-world countries are also present in first-world countries. It mostly comes down to taking proper safety measures, such as making sure you are aware of your surroundings, attempting to blend in with locals rather than screaming “tourist,” and checking the government warnings for your destination so you are better prepared.

More Interesting Facts to Explore:

And artist impression of a group of G. blacki in a forest in southern China.
Image Credit: Garcia/Joannes-Boyau (Southern Cross University)

According to the National Wildlife Federation, “more than 200 years after biologists began naming and classifying the world´s plants and animals, they still do not know how many species exist. Estimates range from 3 million to 100 million or even more.”

Author: Jorie Logan

Title: Writer

Expertise: Travel, Wellness, Advocacy

Jorie Logan is a copywriter, brand strategist, and traveler with extensive solo travel experience. She's passionate about sharing stories that empower women to explore their world and discover their authentic joyful selves.