Ask the Experts

Defeating Drunk Driving

I know that drunk driving is a terrible thing to do, and it’s something I would never, ever do myself. For a long time, I assumed that pretty much everyone agreed on that–in fact, I wondered how it was even still a problem. But sometimes when I speak to older folks (even some within my own family), I’m surprised by how accepting they seem to be about the idea of drunk driving.

That may seem depressing, but it actually got me thinking kind of optimistically. If younger people are more serious about preventing drunk driving, we must be headed to a better, safer future in that area, right? So I thought I’d ask the experts: in general, how are we doing in the battle against drunk driving?

Drunk driving is a serious thing indeed–and, unfortunately, it’s still very much a problem in the United States. Drunk driving kills over 10,000 people a year and accounts for 29 percent of all traffic deaths in the US. Those sorts of statistics should be enough to make anyone stop driving drunk, but the sad truth is that many still do: 28.7 million people admitted to driving drunk in 2013.

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After the Accident

I was recently involved in a pretty serious car accident. This just happened recently, so I’m still figuring out what to do now. I was unhurt, but my sister–who was a passenger–thinks she has a concussion. My car seems to be totalled, but we’re waiting to hear for sure from the mechanic. The accident wasn’t my fault, so I don’t think I’ll be sued, or anything, but I’m still a little nervous. And, obviously, now I don’t have car, so I can’t really get around when I want to go off campus!

Experts, do you have any tips on what to do after a big car accident?

A car accident is a stressful and upsetting thing. It’s physically dangerous, of course, but it also comes with a host of other issues trailing along, from the financial strain of a ruined car and the frustrations of dealing with an insurance company to the personal trauma of having experienced something so frightening and stressful.

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Uncool, Uncomfortable

My friends and I live year-round in an off-campus apartment that we really love–except for in one very big way. Our place has all the space we need, is laid out perfectly, and is in a great location, but we don’t have any way to controlling its temperature. I’m not sure how this is possible, but we don’t really have a thermostat, and I can’t seem to control the heaters or find any way to get the A/C on. Sometimes it’s too hot, other times it’s too cold, and honestly, it almost doesn’t matter what season it is: our place seems to be able to be uncomfortable in any weather, and whether it’s too hot or too cold that day is always a surprise. It’s like the place is haunted! What’s going on with this place? Any tips for controlling the temperature without access to any controls?

It certainly sounds like you’re dealing with a very confusing temperature situation in your apartment, and that’s not great. While experts say that it takes very extreme temperatures to have a serious and immediate impact on your health, subtler temperature changes can affect things like mood or productivity. Experts have found that cold rooms (below 68 degree Fahrenheit) lead to more mistakes at work. Problems with the temperature at work can also cause employees to stop working entirely: 29 percent of workers report spending between 10 and 30 minutes a day not working due to temperature issues.

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Health and Hospitals

I’m 19 years old, and I’ve never been to a hospital. I mean, I must have been to one when I was born, but I’ve been very lucky in terms of health and injury and stuff. I go to the doctor every once in a while, but I’ve never broken a bone or gotten really, really sick, or anything like that. I know this is all good stuff, but I feel weirdly concerned about it, because I really don’t know anything about hospitals or when I should go to one.

I know this is kind of a weird question, but: when are you supposed to go to the hospital? When do you do that instead of going to your regular doctor? What do I do when I show up–do I just go to the emergency room? Or would I be arriving in an ambulance? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

There are no dumb questions–the experts are here to answer them all! And your question is a good one, because many people may not realize that they aren’t aware of the procedures and decision-making processes they may need to use in the event of an emergency.