You come across a train track sign, and you think you know what to do, but maybe over the years you’ve forgotten some of the driving safety tips when it comes to railroad crossings. Did you know that according to NHTSA statistics and Operation Lifesaver, a motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle? And in 2015, over 2,000 collisions occurred at public and private highway-rail crossings. Thus, the Team at McDivitt Law Firm wants to ensure that all drivers are up-to-speed on railroad crossing regulations and safety standards.
When a train hits a vehicle it’s like a car hitting a soda can, the force is that strong. So, here are some safety tips and facts that you should follow when approaching a railway crossing:
- Always expect a train at every highway-rail crossing. Freight trains don’t really have a fixed schedule, and schedules for passenger trains can change or be delayed. So don’t get used to a train passing by the same time every day.
- Watch for traffic control devices near railways. These devices and signs are meant to warn and guide you—follow them.
- Never walk or park on train tracks. Trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
- Trains have the right of way 100% of the time. This includes the right of way over emergency vehicles, cars, and pedestrians.
- If you see a train, it’s closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, don’t try to guess if you can cross. Wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
- A train can extend up to three feet or more beyond the train rails. You need to keep your car back far enough when waiting for a train to pass. Pay attention to stop lines and lowered gates.
- Never drive around lowered gates. It’s illegal, and can be deadly.
- Cross train tacks only at designated locations. And always obey all warning signs and signals posted by railway crossings.
- Stay alert. That means look and listen. Trains can be quiet and you don’t want to be distracted and miss a train approaching. Distraction is the easiest way to be involved in a train crash.
- If your car ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately. Move quickly away from your car and in the same direction the train is coming. Call your local law enforcement agency for any assistance.
Remember, if you see tracks, you need to think train, first. Follow these tips, and remember to be cautious when needed.
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