Hi Guys, Recently i read about that the possibility for you to be in a plane crash is so low ( 1 in 5 million ) . And as the numbers say that it’s unlikely for me to be in such position. So, my question is : aren’t these numbers apply to everyone?, and if so, what do you say to the people who died in a plane crash who know that the possibility for them to die in a plane crash is so low for them to die but they died anyway? and why statisticians assume that it’s unlikely for me to die in the next plane crash if the numbers apply to everyone?. So, please explain to me like i’m five

In: Mathematics

I need to discuss the risk of bad things happening to them with people in my work every day. What I say is that statistics like that apply to the population, not the individual. The risk within the population might be one in a million. But your individual risk is either zero or a hundred percent. Talking about the individual, it either happens to you, or it doesn’t. There is no such thing as being only a millionth involved in a plane crash. How, then, is the best way to explain risk to someone? I find it’s easiest to compare it to something that is just as likely. For example, there is a one in a million chance of throwing 20 heads in a row when tossing a coin (that’s a real statistic).

Several points here.

Firstly millions of people fly, so some are going to be involved in a crash just by the numbers of people flying.

Secondly plane crashes are more likely in areas with poor quality of maintenance, pilot training etc.

Finally large passenger jets are less likely to crash than smaller planes.

It sounds like this is a misunderstanding regarding statistics and not at all with plane crashes.

Think of it like this. I’m going to offer you a bet. We roll a die, and if it lands on 1 then I owe you $1, and if it lands on any other number you owe me $1. Would you take that bet? You shouldn’t. The odds are not in your favor. However, you could still potentially win a dollar if the die lands on 1. If we reverse the bet, so that you owe me $1 if it lands on 1 and I owe you $1 otherwise, then you should take that bet. The odds are in your favor; you have a 5 in 6 chance of winning. If we roll the die and it lands on a 1, would you say that the odds were any different? No, the odds for a dice roll are always the same, and an unlikely result is still possible.

Now, when you get on a plane, there is a ridiculously small chance that you will die in a plane crash, but, just like with a dice game, the plane may land on an unfortunate side.

Don’t worry about dying in a plane crash. It could happen, but you are much more likely to die an untimely death as a result of a number of other daily activities, such as riding in a car or eating breakfast.

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