Jared Diamond of The New York Times provides an interesting lesson about how people in the modern world perceive dangers. After witnessing friends in New Guinea refusing to sleep under an old, dead tree due to the risk of it falling he realised that people have begun to worry more about the bigger, more unlikely risks such as terrorist attacks, nuclear radiation, plane crashes and so on and be less vigilant towards smaller risks that are taken or encountered very often – risks that are ignored because people think “that’s not a problem, I’m careful” while often not being.
I personally have this “hypervigilant attitude towards repeated risks” or “constructive paranoia” – I watch what I’m doing when I’m descending the long flight of stairs outside, I wear well treaded shoes on snow and ice and I’m particularly careful when handling sheet glass; which can literally be lethal, or at least painful as the scars on my hands from unavoidable accidents attest.
As the article states, with access to emergency services and the assumption that help is only moments away the awareness of real dangers has become diminished and unlikely ones exaggerated.
Have a read of the full article, then be careful out there.