21 Unexpected Things That Can Kill You That, Surprisingly, Aren't Common Knowledge

Recently, Redditor u/ObligationPlus953 asked, “What’s something simple that can actually kill someone accidentally that isn’t common knowledge?” I’ve gotta be honest — I learned a thing or two reading this thread. So, obviously, I decided to pull some of the most shocking — and most informative — answers (and fact-check them, of course). Without further ado, here are 21 unexpected ways you can die:


“A dental infection. I went to grief support meetings, and a woman there lost her son to an impacted tooth that spread infection to his brain.”

A dentist is performing a dental check-up on a patient lying back in a chair. The dentist is wearing gloves and using dental tools to examine the patient's teeth


“Party buses. My wife’s cousin was on one a couple of years ago. They were all dancing on the bus while it was driving on the 101 freeway in LA. She slipped and fell against the door, which gave way. She fell out of the bus and was immediately run over by a car. There wasn’t much left of her, closed casket for sure. She was celebrating her 30th birthday, but instead, she died and left behind 5 kids, all under 10.”



“If potatoes are not stored properly and become rotten, they produce a toxic gas called solanine and can make a person unconscious if they’ve inhaled enough, and result in death in some cases. There was a news article back in 2013 of an entire family in Russia that was killed by it.”

A wicker basket filled with multiple unpeeled potatoes


“Playing in a deep hole at the beach. Everyone forgets how heavy dirt actually is.”

u/GuiltyLawyer and u/Is_Unable

“When I was a little kid, there was a construction project at my school, and there were trenches. They did a demonstration where they took the strongest kid in the school of 1,000 students and had him lie down on the stage. Someone placed a bucket of soil on his chest, and then he tried to stand up. He couldn’t move it. They even supported the bucket to make sure he wouldn’t get hurt from it being too much weight. That was educational.”



“A lot of medication interactions. Mucinex DM with antidepressants, Tylenol for a hangover. Always look up the potential drug interactions of medications. Every time. I’ve had doctors give me some deadly cocktails because they neglected to check them against the meds I was already taking. It happens more than you’d think.”

A weekly pill organizer with sections labeled "Sun," "Mon," "Fri," and "Sat," each containing various pills and tablets


“Mixing bleach and ammonia when you clean produces a toxic gas that will make you REALLY sick. “


Bleach +  ammonia = chloramine gas, which  — when inhaled — can cause coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, pneumonia, and fluid in the lungs. 


“Leaving food out on the counter.”

A person in an apron spoons hearty stew from a white pot into a plastic container on a wooden table


“Rags covered in linseed oil can spontaneously combust when left in a pile. I randomly discovered this fact in a Reddit post titled, “The new guy burned down our workshop.” A carpenter I know confirmed that this is a real thing. I’ve been getting into refinishing old furniture, so I’m glad I learned this now. You’d think it’d be more common knowledge!”


According to NASA, this is a reaction known as auto-oxidation. Essentially, linseed oil — which is a “self-ignition combustible” — reacts with the oxygen in the air and can spontaneously heat, thus causing a fire. 


“Cheerleading. I had an accident and almost died because one of my teammates lost their balance while I was on top, and I fell. I broke my neck and I haven’t been able to walk or move most of my body again since.”

Cheerleaders perform a formation under a clear sky. A flyer stands on one leg with both arms raised, supported by her team


“Flowing water that is only inches deep can still have the strength to sweep you away if you’re not careful.”


“When I was a kid, one of my friends died this way. The family was crossing a shallow river in a Landcruiser Troopcarrier with lifted suspension, and the undercurrent swept the car away immediately. The mom, dad, and sister escaped in time, but my mate (around 7 years old) couldn’t undo his seatbelt fast enough and drowned.”

u/Mike9601 and u/commiecomrade


“Pressure washers are quite lethal.”

A person in shorts and boots pressure washes the brick exterior of a house


“Hitting your head. r/TBI is full of stories about simple slips and falls that resulted in death and lasting effects. I simply fell on ice at work once. Bam! Unconscious. I woke up saying I was OK but got talked into getting in an ambulance. I started dying in the ambulance from a severe brain bleed. I was in a coma and was expected to die, but I survived. I lost most of my memory, emotional stability, the ability to easily make new memories, and a ton of IQ. Still…in all, I’m not dead!”



“Garage door springs.”

Open garage door revealing a scenic view of a green hill and blue sky with clouds


“A grape. My wife had a friend/coworker whose young daughter choked to death in front of her and her mother. They tried to dislodge the grape, but nothing worked. By the time an ambulance got there, the girl was brain dead. It’s about the worst thing I can imagine as a parent. We were cutting our kids’ grapes in half until they were 10 after that happened.”



“Giving little babies water to drink. It doesn’t have to be much; water intoxication can kill them very easily.”

A baby with blue eyes holds a baby bottle with both hands and looks at the camera. There's a patterned fabric in the background


“Slipping down the stairs. Yes, some people know stairs can be dangerous, but many don’t realize how deadly residential stairs can be.”


“Did that. Got a concussion and five staples in my head.”



Blowing an air compressor in someone’s butt hole. I know it’s a weird one, but it keeps happening in India.”



“Tylenol. The dangerous dosage is only about four times the therapeutic dosage.”

A person hands a box of Plan B emergency contraceptive pills to a cashier at a checkout counter in a store


“Going to sleep while drunk and choking on your own vomit. Always lay your drunk friends on their side and lift their chin to open their airways. DO NOT lay them on their backs. My friend died from this at age 32.”



“Ladders. People think you have to fall far to get hurt or die. Eight feet is plenty.”

Two people climbing a wooden treehouse ladder; the person above is ascending while the person below holds the ladder steps. Scene is outdoors


And finally, “Confined spaces. If it only has one way in and out, especially if it is below ground, there is a very real possibility that there isn’t enough oxygen in there to support life. Even something as simple as rusting metal can remove the oxygen from the air, and if there isn’t airflow going through the space, the oxygen-depleted air won’t be replaced. Other processes can remove oxygen or produce actively toxic gases. This sort of thing often kills more than one person, as the first person to find the victim goes in to rescue them and becomes the second victim.”


Do you know of a simple thing like these that can accidentally kill people? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length, clarity, and factual accuracy.