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Rail Officials Warn Drivers To Use Extra Caution In Winter

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As we head into cold weather mode and we have to deal with icy and snowy roads, there are warnings for motorists today about avoiding collisions with trains.

There were 126 collisions involving trains and vehicles throughout Illinois last year. Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said the next closest neighboring state in the North Region is Wisconsin with 60. When it comes to fatalities, Illinois leads there, too, with 15.

Davis said all of the railroad crossing warning devices should mean the same thing to a driver: "yield the right of way to a train."

Union Pacific said drivers need to be even more careful when road conditions are snowy and slick, because it takes a 100-car train going 60 miles an hour up to a mile and a half to come to a complete stop, so by the time a train engineer spots your car on the tracks with the train bearing down, it's too late.

"You get that blowing and drifting snow, then you have the plows that have gone through the crossings, kind of packed up snow, so we always want to remind drivers: take that extra time to make sure you drive extremely cautiously," he said.

Davis says the fact that Illinois has so many freight trains going through it increases the probability of a collision happening.


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