Changing macOS Editor Behavior?

It's bitten me when I didn't realize the focus was in a TextEdit window with some text selected. I hit a key and it overwrote the text. It happens from time to time. I've lost some stuff.

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Are you trying to use single-key shortcuts?
If yes, you can use a "Short Tap do Letter, Long Tap do something else" macro. There are a couple of these macros in the forum.

But tbh sounds a little bit difficult to pull off in your case, without resorting to activating and deactivating macro groups.

I'd suggest you to instead try macros using a modifier key such as Control, plus the key. The Control key is not used a lot on OSX, so it's a good candidate to use it for shortcuts.

Ctrl-S to open Safari

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Actually I'm not using single-key shortcuts. Typically I hit space (in the wrong window) and the selected text in the window gets replaced with a space.