Dear Tom,

I have heard that men are much more likely to be struck by lightning than women. How can lightning tell the difference between men and women?

—Billy Hawthorne, Waukegan

Dear Billy, In the United States, males account for about 85 percent of lightning-strike fatalities and females only 15 percent. It’s not because lightning prefers to strike men, but because men tend to engage in activities that put them at greater risk. For example, outdoor work being male dominated is a major factor. Lifestyle and behavioral differences between men and women also play roles. Lightning- strike statistics suggest that men do not respect the threat of lightning to the extent that women do. In addition, most strike deaths are single-person events, thus showing the need for safety education emphasizing personal responsibility.