Staying Safe at Railroad Crossings

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In 2018, 336 drivers went around a gate and were struck by a train; 99 people died in those crashes – a 10-year high.”

When approaching a railroad always remember that trains have the right away.

A train cannot swerve out of the way of your vehicle.

A train cannot stop quickly. In fact, “a train going 55 miles per hour takes a mile or more to stop.”

If a train does hit you it will likely completely destroy the car. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission shared that,  “The average family car weighs about 3,000 pounds. We all know what happens to a 12-ounce can of pop when a car runs over it. The can of pop is totally destroyed because the weight ratio of the car to the can of pop is 4,000 to 1. The average freight train weighing 12 million pounds outweighs a car by the same ratio of 4,000 to 1. When a force of 12 million pounds hits a car, it will be destroyed”

Be aware that the train may look as though it is approaching slower than it actually is. 

NHTSA listed steps to follow to exercise caution at railroad crossings:

  • “When approaching a railroad crossing, slow down, look both ways, and listen for a train on the tracks.
  • Do not rely on past experiences to guess when a train is coming. Trains can come from either direction at any time.
  • Never stop on the railroad tracks. Keep moving once you have entered the crossing, and—to avoid stalling—never shift gears on the tracks.”

Always expect a train to be there. There is no time you should assume there will be no train and there is nothing important enough to rush through a railroad. 

Slow dow, Look around, and Listen up!