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Business travel to North America is on the rise. Travelers; especially those coming from temperate climates, are sometimes unaware and unprepared for extreme winter-weather conditions. This winter travel advisory offers some basic advice on how to minimize the effects and prepare in advance for North America’s winter- weather challenges.
Winter season usually starts in mid-October and can last well into late spring. Weather conditions can change very quickly, with little or no warning. Blowing snow, high wind-chill and extreme cold can pose hazards to those traveling or venturing outside. While freezing rain is not uncommon, it’s often regarded as winter’s worst hazard. Even a little can be extremely dangerous. It can cover road and walkways with ice, causing extremely dangerous driving and walking conditions.
Driving. For those who live here, winter driving can be summed up as an inconvenience. The best advice for visitors is if you can avoid it, stay off the roads. If hibernation isn’t an option, though, wait until the snow ploughs and salt trucks have passed by before venturing outdoors.
Snowploughs. They may look big and scary, but the road behind them is a lot safer to drive on. Snowploughs are big and they plough far and wide, so don’t crowd one. Give it plenty of room to do its job. They can throw up a cloud of snow and reduce your visibility to zero in seconds.
Dressing for success. There’s nothing worse than half-frozen feet. Forget the designer shoes – they’ll only take a beating from the salt and slush. Opt for a good pair of winter boots instead. Purchase a quality pair with thermal insole and one that’s a size too large – you can wiggle your toes and keep the circulation going.
If working outdoors, dress to suit the weather. Wear layers. You can always remove a layer if you get warm and add when you’re cold. Avoid fabrics like cotton – they retain moisture which can actually draw heat away from your body. Areas exposed to the cold, such as earlobes, cheeks, nose, fingers and toes, can get frostbit. Heed to your mother’s advice and wear a hat and gloves. In extremely cold conditions, cover your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.
Hypothermia. Injury to the body can occur if the body or clothing is wet, if it’s windy, even if outside temperatures are above freezing. Hypothermia is characterized by a significant drop in body temperature. Warning signs include shivering, confusion memory loss and drowsiness. Medical attention should be sought immediately.
Frostbite. With frostbite, a part of the body freezes and feels numb. Blisters may develop and frostbitten areas may take several weeks to heal. This is a serious condition and requires emergency care.
Extreme cold temperatures can create dangerous conditions. Common sense and proper clothing can make the difference. So if business brings you north, keep these travel tips tucked under your hat. We want you to have a productive and safe trip – not one that lands you into the local emergency room.