Modern western society encourages people to take risks by glorifying the potential rewards as worth the potential consequences. This is false though, since every risk has to be analysed to determine whether or not the reward is worth it. Some risks are worth taking and some are not.
Many people also tend to take extreme actions since they are easier than trying to take balanced actions. When considering risks, many people either disregard risks as too unlikely to happen, or are too scared to take even safe risks and hurt themselves by depriving themselves.
In my experience the prior is more common because most risks have a low probability of happening. Aircraft accidents, parachuting accidents, drowning, food poisoning and other injuries and diseases are generally improbable. Although there are millions of car accidents per year, most people are not many accidents. Because it is instinctive for people to see something that rarely (or never) happened to them as something that will never happen, it is common for them to not take precautions against risks that they deem as too improbably to be considerable. This is why teenagers don’t wear seatbelts, drive while inebriated, and do other dangerous things while judging people who do not do them as scared.
When such an accident happens though, there tends to be two extreme responses. Either the person does not realise the real risk, or they realise they were wrong but take extreme mesures to avoid risks in the future. Those that do not realise the risk either do not analyse their mistake and realise it was their fault, or analyse their mistake and either attribute it to bad luck, someone else’s fault, or uncontrollable circumstances. Those that take extreme precautions are acting out of fear instead of being reasonable. These people are likely depriving themselves of some benefit of a risk that is worth taking, such as when someone who has had a car accident refuses to ever drive again. There are times when driving is worth the risk and indeed necessary for something the person wants or needs.
Taking a risk should absolutely never be done for the rewards while ignoring the possible negative consequences. The rewards and probability of success, and the consequences and probability of failure need to be considered. An extremely high valued reward with a low chance of success might be worth an extremely bad negative result with a high chance of failure, or it might not. A high chance of winning something small might be worth risking a low chance of losing something big, or it might not. This has to be judged for each risk based on what the person’s objectives are and whether they think the consequences of winning are worth the consequences of losing. Inaction might also be another option, or equally inaction might be so bad that winning or losing would be better than doing nothing, in which case there is no doubt that one should take the risk.
There are simple precautions people can take to lower the chances of failure with little sacrifice. Always wear your seatbelt, never drink drunk unless you have to, overall be careful and plan ahead with multiple contingency plans and be organised and carry out your plans efficiently. Always analyse risks when you can and be open minded and certain when judging what choice you want to make. Always consider logic, reason, morality, and your knowledge and emotions and what will happen as a result of what you do. If you succeed remember that there is almost always some luck involved and that you can be wrong. If you fail, remember that accidents happen but that you can take steps to avoid them and lessen their damage if they do happen. Do not let failure make you think that it is always best to take an extreme response to make sure that you never make that mistake or any other mistake again, because that is rarely reasonable and will probably do more damage to you, except this time it will not be because of a risk that failed but out of inaction that you chose.
Whether or not a risk must be determined by judging whether the rewards and probability of winning are worth the result and probability of losing.