Home Cruise Safely Listen To Your Mother – Look Both Ways

If you exclude natural deaths (i.e. heart attacks), the leading cause of tourist deaths is automobile accidents.

A state department study covering January 2003 through June 2010 showed that more than a third of the death notifications they received were for automobile accidents. While the number did not separate out those living in the country against those visiting as tourists, the report did say the tourists were at a higher risk. The CDC reports a slightly lower number for 2009 to 2011 at 27%, followed by murder at 22%. Mexico has the most number of American visitors and accounts for about 40% of tourist deaths.

The state department report states that 682 American travelers died from the start of 2003 through June 2010 in Mexico. During that same period, Canada had only 31 deaths despite being the second most visited county with just slightly fewer visitors than Mexico. Roughly speaking, you are 20 times more likely to die in Mexico than Canada as a tourist.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing The Street

Do you really do it? Most people will look for oncoming traffic, make sure it’s clear, and proceed to step off the curb. It’s a lifelong habit for residents of North America and one that can get you killed in a country that drives on the “wrong” side of the road. Pedestrian accidents account for 7% of tourist deaths. However, if you look at statistics by nationality, the accident rate is two or three times higher for citizens from counties that drive on the opposite side. Additionally, sightseers are often distracted.

Often, driving as a tourist is just as troublesome.The laws of a foreign destination might allow you to rent a Harley, but that does not mean you know how to operate one safely. A Bermuda government report showed that tourists were significantly more likely to be involved in a motor scooter accident than a local resident.

While not a main stream cruise tourist destination, New Zealand has the worst statistics. The Queen’s Birthday weekend, earlier this month, saw three fatal accidents killing five people. Two of the three were caused by tourists. Over the last decade between 5% and 8% of fatal accidents involved tourists and more than 75% were found to be caused by the tourist.

As you step out at your next port of call, pay extra attention to what going on around you. Remember to follow your mom’s advice: Look Both Ways.

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