COVID VaccinesReturn to WorkMental Health

Don’t Worry About Car Crashes, You’re Just Going to Die in an Extinction Event

May 4, 2016, 3:17 PM UTC
Nuclear Test USA - Badger
Photograph by Galerie Bilderwelt — Getty Images

Here’s a cheery thought: you are more likely to die in a human extinction event than in a fatal automobile accident.

That’s according to the 2016 Global Catastrophic Risks report from the UK-based Global Challenges Forum.

Here’s how the math breaks down: In any given year, an American has a 1 in 9,395 chance of dying in a car crash. That translates to a 1 in 120 chance over the course of a lifetime, or a 1.2% chance. That doesn’t sound so good.

But it gets worse. The UK’s Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change believe there is a 0.1% chance of a human extinction event in any given year. That’s not so bad, right? Wrong. Annualized, that means there is a 9.5% chance of a human extinction event in the next century.


This event could take many forms, of course — drastic climate change, a collision with an object in outer space, or the old standby of all-out nuclear war.

So be safe in your car, but don’t sweat it too much. We’re all doomed anyway.