It's that time of year again -- folks all over Alberta are packing up the family car and headed out to spend quality time with family and friends.

If you plan to spend some time on the road this winter, Alberta Health Services EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux says you should be careful.

"This is the time of year when we see a rise, or a spike [with frostbite] and usually there's a mitigating factor into what's gone on," he explained. "Whether there's people that may be not fully competent or someone who actually might have an issue with being caught in an unexpected or unprepared situation. That's usually the reason we have concern."

An unexpected breakdown or accident on the highway can quickly turn disastrous with temperatures as low as they currently are. Temperatures in the Drumheller area are expected to remain double-digit negative until the new year.

"Ideally, if you are going to be leaving the city and traveling on the highways, be advised that, if you find yourself in a situation where you're going to be stranded even looking for roadside assistance, that you're probably going to require additional warm clothing," Brideaux said.

"It's definitely advisable to carry extra winter clothing, extra toques, anything you might require."

The first signs of frostbite include tingling, stinging or burning pain, red skin and mild swelling. Feet, hands, ears, nose and face are the mostly likely places for frostbite to occur.

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