Selfies, Champagne Corks, and Other Bizarre Causes of Death That Are More Common Than You’d Think

The world’s most common causes of death sort of make sense. Hundreds of thousands of people die from chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Some rarer fatalities are pretty bizarre, though — and many of them could happen to you.

You probably didn’t know that seemingly safe activities like opening a bottle of champagne or going to sleep could be deadly. They cause more deaths per year than you’d expect.

1. Vending machines

woman using a modern beverage vending machine

Could this be more dangerous than meeting a shark in the open ocean? | kasto80/iStock/Getty Images

Some statistics suggest you’re more likely to die while retrieving a snack from a vending machine than in the jaws of a shark. According to recent data, about four Americans die each year because of junk food-dispensing appliances.

Next: Be careful when driving near a forest.

2. Deer

A red dear stag waits to be fed by tourists visiting a car park near Glen Coe

This animal is responsible for a surprising number of fatalities. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

There’s a good reason you shouldn’t speed down a road that parallels a heavily wooded area. When a deer collides with a car, passengers are in just as much danger as the deer. About 200 people per year die as the result of “deer collisions.”

Next: You might want to take the stairs instead.

3. Escalators


Yes, this can be a dangerous mode of transportation. | Tom Merton/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 30 people in the United States die while riding on escalators every year. These mechanical staircases also injure at least 17,000 people annually. Take the stairs — they might save your life.

Next: Winter really is the worst time of the year.

4. Icicles

Drops of water ar falling from thawing icicles on the boards of lake

From certain heights, these can be fatal. | CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images

Winter is an exceptionally dangerous season in places temperatures drop below freezing. Heavy snowfalls and icy roads lead to fatal accidents. You can slip and fall on ice just walking along the sidewalk. If an icicle falls on you — which actually happens a lot — your chances of survival decline significantly.

Next: Amusement parks aren’t fun for everyone.

5. Roller coasters

rollercoaster against blue sky

Accidents happen on roller coasters. | pressdigital/iStock/Getty Images

Accidents happen — even when thrill-seekers are confident their fun is worth the risk. No one brave enough to board a roller coaster wants to believe it could be the last thing they ever do, but plenty of people have fallen off the high-speed rides or lost their lives to unexpected crashes or related incidents.

Next: Take this risky food item off your shopping list.

6. Hot dogs

hot dogs

This kid-friendly fare can be deadly. |

Competitive eating competitions do cost a few contestants their lives in a given year. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones susceptible to the dangers of a hot dog. They’re also a known choking hazard for young children.

Next: You’re not even safe in your own living room.

7. Watching TV

Girl With Remote Control Watching Movie

Falling televisions? Who knew? |

Perhaps you’re tempted to stay indoors, since everywhere else seems overly hazardous to your health. Unfortunately, something as innocent as watching TV isn’t completely safe. Falling televisions kill more people in a year than many more dangerous activities.

Next: Of all the possible places you could drown, you’ve probably never thought of this one.

8. Bathtubs

Gold bathtub

This can lead to drowning, even in adults. | mihalis_a/iStock/Getty Images

For some reason, the number of people in the United States who drown in their bathtubs every year keeps increasing. Unfortunately, the majority of deaths related to “bathtub drowning” occur in people who are 65 or older. Please bathe with caution.

Next: Talking on the phone while driving is not the most dangerous distraction out there.

9. Texting

Four friend hands texting in their smart phones

Who knew that simple communication could be so dangerous? |

Distracted driving isn’t anything new — but in the past decade, we’ve developed a new mechanism for occupying our attention when our eyes are supposed to be on the road. Thousands of people die every year because they couldn’t wait to answer a text message.

Next: Don’t go outside during a thunderstorm.

10. Lightning

Ball lightning or St. Elmo's fire

This does more than make a scary noise! | Joe Thomissen/Wikimedia Commons

Even though your chances of dying from a lightning strike are slim, it still happens more often around the country than you’d expect. Sixteen people in the United States lost their lives to lighting in 2017, which was a record low number of fatalities.

Next: Even celebrating can kill you.

11. Champagne corks

champaign popping and splashing

Yes, even champagne corks can kill people. | cosmin4000/Getty Images

Take extreme caution when opening your next bottle of champagne — even if you’re convinced your chances of “death by cork” are too slim to apply to you. You never know exactly where a cork could end up after that all-too-satisfying pop.

Next: A bed, it turns out, is a very dangerous place.

12. Falling out of bed

Grey woolen handmade blanket falling off the bed

Depending on how and where you fall, your bed can pose danger. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

If you’ve made it this far down the list, you’re probably not surprised that even going to sleep can become a potential health risk. Restless sleepers actually risk falling out of bed, which could potentially prove fatal depending on the circumstances.

Next: Seriously, don’t have too much fun in the bedroom, OK?

13. Masturbation

Woman whispering in mans ear

Yes, you read that right. | Image Source/Getty Images

Autoerotic asphyxiation involves strangling yourself to, theoretically, stimulate sexual arousal and orgasm. As you can probably guess, this is not a good idea, especially if you’re doing it while no one else is around. At least 1,000 people die every year doing this.

Next: The Instagram likes probably aren’t worth it.

14. Selfies


Be mindful when taking selfies! | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

What would you do to capture the perfect selfie? Would you risk your life? Many people do, even if they don’t realize it until it’s too late. The majority of cases involve people falling from buildings, cliffs, and mountains.

Next: How can something so essential be so dangerous?

15. Power lines

power lines on fields

Electrocution is a real threat. | iStock/Getty Images

Utility line workers actually have one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. People electrocuted by power lines often don’t survive, despite safety precautions. Fallen yet still active lines have also been known to kill unsuspecting civilians.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!