The 5 safest choices for 10 important decisions
If you're a real risk-taker you'll work in transportation in North Dakota and drive a Yaris to eat at sit-down restaurants -- statistics indicate these are among the least safe choices in their respective categories. But if you want to play it safe, we've gathered the five best choices for 10 crucial decisions.
1. Safest foods
Mmm, have some more basil with that. Herbs are one of the safest things you can eat. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keeps statistics on food-borne illnesses. In its 2012 "Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks," the CDC identifies these foods as causing no illnesses:
- "Other" meat (such as sheep and goat).
- Aquatic animals that are not fish, mollusks or crustaceans. (Frog legs, anyone?)
To round out the top five, here are two foods that caused the lowest incidents of illness:
The worst choice: Fruits, accounting for 21 percent of food-borne illnesses.
2. Safest places to eat
You probably won't be surprised to know that restaurant food causes the most illness, accounting for 41 percent of reported food-borne disease outbreaks, according to the CDC. The food at sit-down restaurants causes far more illness than fast-food meals. But the safest place to eat isn't at mom's house, it's at work. Yes, work! Apparently when people microwave leftovers and eat at their desks there's no chance for illness.
The CDC says these places for food preparation had no reports of foodborne illness in 2012:
- Workplace, not cafeteria
- Day care
- Workplace cafeteria
Next up, accounting for 1 percent of foodborne illness but with the lowest total illness number:
- Fair, festival or temporary mobile service
(Restaurants of "multiple types" also had zero percent of illness but "multiple types" wasn't defined.)
3. Safest cars
In this category, the bigger the better. Each year, Insure.com releases a list of the best and worst cars for preventing passenger injuries. We analyzed insurance rates for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments (MedPay) - the coverage that pays for injuries to your passengers in a crash -- to identify the vehicles with the lowest and highest costs for PIP and MedPay coverage. The best five 2014 cars for preventing passenger injuries are:
- Ford F-350
- GMC Sierra 2500
- Porsche Cayenne
- Ford F-250
- GMC Yukon
Worst for passenger safety: the Toyota Yaris. Read the article for the 10 best and worst vehicles for preventing passenger injuries.
4. Safest American cities for driving
In its 2013 "Allstate America's Best Drivers Report," the insurance company ranked the safest cities for driving based on its insurance claims data. The researchers looked at the frequency of car crashes that resulted in property-damage claims. According to Allstate, driving in the following cities is the least risky:
- Fort Collins, Colo.
- Boise, Idaho
- Sioux Falls, S.D.
- Brownsville, Texas
- Madison, Wis.
5. Cities safest from crime
When the "city insect" is a pretty yellow butterfly and there are 44 miles of bicycle trails, how can a locale not be idyllic? Irvine, Calif., is also the safest city in the U.S.
With a murder rate 80 percent below average and a robbery rate 86 percent below average, it tops Business Insider's 2013 rankings.
- Irving, Calif.
- Fremont, Calif.
- Plano, Texas
- Madison, Wis.
- Irving, Texas
Business Insider says the most dangerous American city is Flint, Mich.
6. Cities safest from natural disasters
The natural disasters seen on TV might make you think twice about living in certain areas of the country - or compel you to review your home insurance coverage. Real estate site Trulia used five hazard maps in 2013 (hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods) to find the housing markets least likely to be hit by natural disasters:
- Syracuse, N.Y.
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Akron, Ohio
- Buffalo, N.Y.
- Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md.
"Natural disasters can be very costly for homeowners," said John Marini, COO and vice president of Utica-based Adjusters International, whose public adjusting firm helps homeowners to file insurance claims after natural disasters strike. "Knowing which cities are the most likely to be affected will help them properly insure their property and be protected from resulting expensive insurance claims."
7. Safest states from storm surge
Hurricanes are known for their high winds, but often it's the surge of water that causes the most damage.
CoreLogic looked at the number of single-family homes that are at risk for hurricane-driven storm-surge damage. For a 2014 report the company found that more than 6.5 million homes along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk for storm surge inundation. However, the states with the fewest number of properties likely to be soaked, and the number at risk, are:
- District of Columbia (3,895).
- New Hampshire (10,853).
- Maine (23,439).
- Rhode Island (26,558).
- Delaware (48,534).
Florida has the highest number at 2,488,277.
8. Safest states to work in
According to the AFL/CIO's 2014 "Death on the Job" report, the following states had the lowest fatality rates in 2012 and are therefore the safest states to work in:
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
The report indicates that "over the past four years, the job fatality rate largely has been unchanged, with a rate of 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2012."
North Dakota is the worst.
9. Safest occupations
If you want to play it safe during your work day, think about becoming a teacher or nurse, or possibly (gasp!) an insurance agent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of workplace fatalities by industry sector. From its 2012 report, these are safest occupations:
- Education and health services
- Financial activities
- Retail trade
No matter what your occupation, the biggest cause of workplace mortality for women is homicides; for men it's roadway incidents.
Transportation and material moving have the highest fatalities.
10. Safest hospitals
In its March 2014 article, "Is your hospital really as safe as you think?" Consumer Reports ranked hospitals on a 100-point scale using measurements for mortality, re-admission, scanning, communication and infection data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These are the top five hospitals and their scores:
- Miles Memorial Hospital (Damariscotta, Maine), 78
- Oaklawn Hospital (Marshall, Mich.), 77
- Aurora Medical Center of OshKosh (Oshkosh, Wis.), 75
- Lutheran Hospital (Cleveland, Ohio), 75
- Palm Drive Hospital (Sebastopol, Calif.), 74
According to Consumer Reports, 43 hospitals got a score below 30, making the best facilities even more impressive.
Bolivar Medical Center in Cleveland, Miss., had the worst score at 11.
More from Marjorie Musick here