Do Men Get Struck By Lightning More Than Women?

By Brett Israel | September 22, 2009 12:32 pm

lightning_webMen make up a whopping 82 percent of the 648 people that were killed by lightning in the U.S. from 1995 to 2008. Dudes, what gives?

Apparently, standing outside during a lightning storm with a metal pole in your hand seems like a good idea to a lot of men.

Via Popular Science,  John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert with the National Weather Service, had this to say:

Men are less willing to give up what they’re doing just because of a little inclement weather… and will continue to engage in pastimes that make them vulnerable, such as fishing, camping and golfing. Recreational or sports-related activities are involved in almost half of all lightning-related deaths.

To put an evolutionary spin on the data, Peter Todd, a behavioral psychologist at Indiana University, said he thinks men are hard-wired to exhibit bold (stupid?) behavior to attract a mate—though unless their ideal mate is their golfing or fishing buddy, it’s not so clear how this strategy works. Are women really impressed by tales of some dope slicing into the woods during a lightning storm?

Evolutionarily speaking, you’d think men with a tendency to hang around outside during storms would have been killed off by now—and maybe that helps explain why only 648 people were killed by lightning over the past 13 years.

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Image: flickr / Axel Rouvin

  • Art

    Lightning has never struck me before, so it ain’t gonna happen!

  • badnicole

    More proof women are smarter than men!

  • Zoe

    It makes sense…Men are probably more likely to be doing something outside when it rains. This would be true both for sports and recreation AND another factor we must consider is more men probably have jobs where they are outside. Either way as someone else pointed out maybe women are just smarter in this sense! LOL! When someone asks, “Do you want to play golf/football/tennis in the rain?” I think most women would say NO! Some men on the other hand….I have personally see guys play sports in the rain and I had the thought at the time, “Maybe THIS is why they get struck by lightening more!” HAHAHAHA! I remember reading this odd fact a long time ago. Good thing it doesn’t happen often! Sounds like a messed up way to go!

  • hannah thompson

    lol guys are really stupid!! girls have enough sense to get out of the reain

  • Diana_rengifoelmore

    what if it happens out of the rain? Sometimes lightning travels horizontally before striking vertically on the ground.


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