The White Stuff Can Kill

A woman was driving through a national park during a blizzard. Unfortunately, the poor road conditions caused her to lose control of her vehicle. The car slid off the road and rolled down an embankment. Although she was only a few meters from the highway, the leg and arm she had fractured in the accident prevented her from exiting the vehicle. Her car was spotted by a grader operator who was plowing the road the next day, but by the time the operator reached the woman, she had frozen to death.

For most of us living in Canada, blizzards are an accepted part of life. But every year blizzards and excessive cold in Canada claim more than 100 lives. This is more than the combined total from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, extreme heat and lightning.

In Canada, blizzards can hit almost anywhere, but are especially common in the southern prairies, Atlantic Canada and the eastern Arctic. Blizzards deserve the same respect that we would pay a tornado. Many of us who hear of a blizzard warning will carry on as if there werenít any danger, but blizzards warrant preparation and caution.

The combination of snow, strong winds, cold temperatures and reduced visibility (due to the blowing snow) can be deadly.

One winter when I was driving a snowplow along the Jasper-Banff highway, my colleague and I were about to close the road due to a blizzard when we came across a man who had lost control of his vehicle. He had been there at least two hours. There was very little traffic, so he was happy to see us. The man was dressed in summer loafers, dress pants and a light fall jacket. He had no mitts, toque, shovel or any other type of survival gear, and was almost out of gas. Obviously, this man was not prepared for what could have become a life-threatening situation. Here are a few recommended precautions for driving in Canadian winter:

Not planning to travel? Itís still a good idea to blizzard-proof your home or workplace. Stock up on necessities - fuel, oil, food, medications, diapers for the kids, milk - whatever you need to make sure everyone is fed, safe and warm until the danger passes. Source: Environment Canada. Check out their Web site at

This article was written by Martin Lesperance a fire fighter/paramedic and best selling author. Martin speaks across North America on the topic of injury prevention. For more information or to sign up for his free safety newsletter, go to

This information was taken from the book ďI Wonít be in to Work Today - Preventing Injuries at Home, Work, and PlayĒ by Martin Lesperance. To order this book or find out more information, go to and click on books and products. Sign up for his free safety newsletter at Martin delivers speeches across North America on the topic of injury prevention.

Copyright 1997 Safety Health Publishing Inc.

Martin Lesperance is a fire fighter/paramedic and is the author of the best selling book "I Wonít be in to Work Today Ė Preventing Injuries at Home, Work and Play" Martin delivers keynote presentations dealing with injury prevention. His talks are funny, but still have a strong underlying message. Visit his website at