Railroad Crossing Safety Tips

Don’t Play with the Train

Stop, look and listen. Ever since we were young, we’ve been told to do these things when at a railroad crossing and for good reason. As kids, we knew for a fact that railroads are not a playground, and the trains are not something that you play with. But why is it now that we’re older, we’re more inclined to play with the train especially at the railroad crossing? According to the Federal Railroad Administration, over 400 motorists are killed each year just because they thought that their cars are fast enough to outrun the 10,000 ton missile known as the train.

Seriously, you’ll be lucky to just get an expensive appointment at a body repair shop if you decide to play with the train. As for the 400 plus dead motorists and the more than a thousand more seriously injured, they’re not so lucky.

The Math Doesn’t Lie

If you’re driving at 50 mph and you hit on the brake suddenly, you’re not going to stop on a dime. Can you imagine how long the train needs to travel to get into a complete stop? We’re talking about something that weighs more than 4,000 cars. Just to give you an idea, a train traveling at 50 mph will have to travel 1.5 miles after hitting on the brakes to get into a complete stop.

So yeah, your car doesn’t stand a chance. Just in case you still want to believe that you and your car can survive a collision with nothing more than a hefty bill from a body repair shop, you have to know something. Go ahead and drive over a soda can made of aluminum. Now, imagine your car as the train and the soda can as your automobile. That’s what you’re up against.

Again, your car doesn’t stand a chance, so do the right thing and give the train the right of way ALL THE TIME.

You can’t Judge the Train’s Speed and Distance

Here’s how it usually happens. A driver is at a crossing and he sees the train. He makes a mental calculation and according to his brilliant brain, he has more than enough time to get past the railroad before the train arrives. The ending is not pretty. You’ve seen more than enough “World’s Most Shocking Videos” to tell you that you can never judge a train’s speed and distance.

Stop, Look and Listen

In order to avoid a trip to the body repair shop, hospital, or worse, the morgue; always stop, look and listen. As soon as you arrive at a crossing, come to a complete stop at a safe distance away from the crossing. Once at a complete stop, look both ways for signs of an oncoming train. Afterwards, listen if there’s an oncoming train. Once you’re done, look and listen again. Once you’ve really determined that there’s no oncoming train, that’s the time that you can pass.

If you see or hear an oncoming train, make a full stop and wait for the last car of the train to pass. Once the whole train has passed, look and listen twice just to make sure that there’s no additional oncoming train.

Follow these tips and save yourself and your car. Seriously, in most cases, a body repair shop can’t do anything with a car that has collided with a train.

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