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The ‘Caution! Wet floor’-sign effect

‘I accept that, by going on this trip, I may be exposed to the following risks: hypothermia, frostbite, heatstroke, sunburns, exhaustion, bone and joint injuries, head/spinal injuries, burns, bites, stings, falling, environmental illness, allergic reaction, injury from car or traffic accident, winter, rain, hail, or wind storms or other seasonal and weather risks.’

So, I wanted to go camping last weekend. That may indeed sound like a crazy plan in Canada in the winter, but I didn’t expect it to be so risky.

Now, two things can happen when you read through this Safety Planning Record. You either stress out, are convinced that you’ll die and don't leave your house ever again. Or you scroll through it and click the ‘I accept’ box, without actually reading it, and thinking ‘oh, it’s just legal stuff’. It’s like the ‘Caution! Wet floor’-sign. It’s always there, so you don't even pay attention to it anymore, although the floor sometimes actually is wet and you do fall. Or the ‘Caution! Hot’-sign on your coffee. The coffee better be hot, but the warning has to be on the cup, otherwise someone will sue the company.

I’m going on another trip this weekend, to the US this time. In addition to accepting the risks, I had to do a test as well, to be prepared to travel to the United States. The questions were very hard: ‘The culture of the United States is similar to Canadian culture so I will not experience cultural adjustment issues: yes/no’ (this is a tricky one, but since I’m taking Canadian politics I know that Canada is VERY DIFFERENT from the US), and ‘I must have a valid passport to enter the United States: yes/no’. After doing some intense research, I managed to pass.

I understand that it is important to be aware of potential dangers and to be prepared before you start travelling. But this way, nobody takes seriously the risks.

I’m sure that I’ll be able to cope with the cultural differences, and I didn't suffer from too many hazards last week. Okay, it was cold, but that was to be expected. And except for bringing the wrong poles for the tent, everything went well. Although… my pink socks are black now, after they caught fire. I should maybe sue someone for that.

 

Floortje Rawee

Name: Floortje Rawee (21)

Study: second-year UCM-student

Goes to: Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

From: 3 January until the end of May

 

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