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Between 26 September and 3 October 2022, police officers and members of the Slovenian Railways will take part in an international prevention campaign by organised by Railpol, the European Association of Police Organisations responsible for rail safety.

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This preventive action aims to improve safety culture in passenger behaviour on trains and at level crossings and to contribute to general safety in railway environment.

Police focus on crossing of railway lines and passenger behaviour on train

The action week will take place under the umbrella of the Railpol Working Group on Police Investigation of Railway Accidents and Other Major Incidents. Members of the police and the Slovenian railway operator will focus in particular on:

  • prohibited crossing of railway lines,
  • crossing of railway lines at level crossings (by vehicles and pedestrians),
  • violations on train (boarding or alighting from a moving train, damaging interior equipment on trains, public order violations etc.).

In addition, we will be raising awareness of rail safety among young people through lectures to secondary-school students next week.

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Railway accidents, violations on trains

Every road user should know and observe the specific traffic rules governing the crossing of railway tracks at a level crossing where a road and a railway line intersect. Unfortunately, railway accidents continue to happen because road users fail to observe these rules or even cross the rails where this is prohibited.

There are also violations on trains, for example, when passengers try to get on or off a moving train or damage equipment on train, etc.

NivojskiPrehod

There are almost 700 level railway crossings in Slovenia where railway lines intersect with road infrastructure.

Are you familiar with the level crossing rules?

A train or other rolling stock moving on railway tracks has priority over all road users. Drivers must approach a crossing with caution and in such a way as to be able to stop safely before the crossing.

Road users must stop before a level crossing:

  • when the warning light indicates that a train is approaching or that the barriers or half-barriers are about to be lowered,
  • when the barriers or half-barriers are being lowered or have been lowered,
  • when traffic is stopped by an authorised railway worker holding an appropriate sign,
  • always at an unguarded level crossing ÔÇô road users may proceed only after making sure that no train is approaching.

Is there a queue of vehicles on the other side of the crossing? Make sure you stop in time

If a queue of vehicles has already formed on the other side of the crossing, make sure you stop before the crossing and do not force your way across! You may find yourself in the middle of the tracks when a train is approaching and you have nowhere to go because of the queue in front and behind. Only cross the level crossing when you are able to cross it completely, quickly and safely.

Never force your right of way! Train braking distance is several hundred metres long

It is important to be aware that the braking distance of a train is long, often several hundred metres, while the braking distance of a heavy train can be up to a kilometre long. At a road crossing, you may be able to force the right of way without serious consequences, but at a level crossing this is almost impossible since a train, after hitting a vehicle, often comes to a halt only after several hundred metres.

Crossing railway tracks should never become routine! Always, especially at unguarded crossings, make sure you have a clear path

If you cross the railway tracks at the same time every day, crossing can become a matter of habit and you may stop paying attention to the danger. You may also feel that you know the timetable of the trains crossing, so you do not expect a train to be there at a certain time. Such "routine" crossing of the tracks by (mainly) local residents is very dangerous. It can easily happen that a train arrives unexpectedly or that you simply do not notice it.

Crossings without barriers or warning lights are particularly dangerous, especially when visibility is reduced. Drivers and pedestrians are therefore advised to pay constant attention. When visibility is reduced, stop the vehicle, turn down the volume on the car stereo and open the windows. The same applies to pedestrians ÔÇô you should stop and listen carefully before crossing. If you have headphones in your ears, you should remove them. If you can't see the train approaching, you will at least be able to hear it.

Crossing the line where there is no crossing is dangerous!

Crossing the line where there is no crossing is particularly dangerous. You must be aware that a train could arrive at any time and a collision with it could be fatal. Therefore, you should not mind walking a few more steps to a place where crossing is allowed.

Never past the barriers

Unfortunately, people also act foolishly at crossings that are properly protected by warning lights, half-barriers or even full barriers. In such cases, there is no excuse for crossing the tracks when this is prohibited. While full barriers or half-barriers physically prevent a vehicle from crossing the tracks, they cannot prevent drivers' stupidity, leading to accidents with the worst consequences. Drivers most often drive around the half-barrier, accelerate and drive under the barrier while it is being lowered, start while the barrier is being lifted or is already up but the warning light still prohibits crossing, etc. Such behaviour can end tragically.

Accidents at level crossings, where a road crosses a railway line, or in places where crossing is not allowed often involve a variety of factors that contribute to reckless behaviour by both drivers and pedestrians ÔÇô from their impatience or inattention to fog, bad weather, sun glare, or other circumstances that reduce visibility. Many accidents are preventable. So we strongly urge you to obey traffic signals and safely cross the railway line only where and when it is permitted.

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