Friday the 13th


Triskaidekaphobics might be on to something.

One of the dividends to living in a world with risk is that it keeps us on our guard. And, in many cases, efforts to eliminate risk never get rid of them, they only reduce them. The danger comes when those reductions are enough to take drop our vigilance, but not enough to rake away the danger.

Gerard Wilde’s describes this phenomenon in his book ‘Target Risk’

  • “Human beings have a seemingly fundamental tendency to compensate for lower risks in one area by taking greater risks in another…Why are more pedestrians killed crossing the street at marked crosswalks than at unmarked crosswalks? Because they compensate for the ‘safe’ environment of a marked crossing by being less vigilant about oncoming traffic. Why did the introduction of childproof lids on medicine bottles lead, according to one study, to a substantial increase in fatal child poisonings? Because adults became less careful in keeping pill bottles out of the reach of children.”

Perhaps today will be an extra safe day as everyone remains alert for even remote misfortunes.