Dec. 11, 2013
/PRNewswire/ -- With winter in full swing, Union Pacific Railroad reminds drivers to follow good winter driving habits and arrive safely at your destinations during this holiday season.
"Too many people have been injured or killed over the years driving too fast during winter weather conditions," said
, safety general manager at Union Pacific. "We want to remind drivers to slow down when winter weather conditions - snow and/or ice - are present on the roads."
"Reducing your speed and allowing plenty of time to come to a complete stop is especially important near grade crossings. It can take a mile or more to stop a train, and by the time a locomotive engineer sees you on the track, it is too late to stop. If you're driving too fast for the slick conditions you won't be able to stop in time to avoid running into the path of, or into the side of, a moving train at a crossing," added Tindall.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 271 people died and 930 were injured in 2012 in grade crossing incidents across
the United States
. The Department of Transportation studied accident reports over a 10-year period and found 94 percent of public grade crossing accidents were caused by risky driver behavior, such as driving around activated automatic gates. Union Pacific urges drivers and pedestrians to use caution near railroad tracks and offers the following rail safety tips:
- Expect a train and look both ways before crossing railroad tracks.
- Wait for trains and do not attempt to beat approaching trains.
- Avoid getting trapped on the railroad tracks by ensuring there is enough room on the other side for your vehicle to completely clear the tracks.
- Pedestrians should cross the tracks only at designated railroad crossings. (Where the street intersects with the tracks.)
- Never walk between the rails in other areas that are not designated railroad crossings.
- Avoid distractions such as loud music, texting or talking on cell phones when crossing the railroad tracks.
In an effort to educate the public about grade crossing and pedestrian safety, UP established the Union Pacific Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety (UP CARES) program, which brings together communities in a collaborative and caring effort to promote railroad grade crossing and pedestrian safety. Union Pacific is committed to fostering public safety through various outreach channels, such as community events, paid advertising and media outreach, education and enforcement activities and coordination with Operation Lifesaver. UP CARES activities include:
- Grade crossing enforcement with local, county and state law enforcement agencies;
- Safety trains that provide local officials a firsthand look at what locomotive engineers see daily while they operate trains through communities and
- Communication blitzes that educate the community at events, or via media outreach and paid advertising.
Do not become a statistic; slow down when there are winter weather conditions present and never race a train to the crossing.