According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Indiana is ranked in the top 15 states for rail crossing deaths. While trains are no longer one of our primary means of transportation, they are still used for transporting people and goods throughout the state and the country. Areas where trains cross roads are at high risk for train-vehicle collisions as well as pedestrian incidents.
Major railroad crossings are marked with signs, flashing red lights, and barriers that prevent cars from driving across the tracks. However, many smaller railroad crossings (such as county road railroad crossings) are only marked by yield signs, which may not alert a driver that a train is passing through.
It’s important to be extra cautious and alert when crossing railroad tracks. Trains are not on set schedules and may be on the tracks at any hour. When train operators see an obstacle in the train’s path, the only action they can take is to apply the emergency brakes and use the warning horn. The distance it takes for a train to come to a stop with emergency braking varies with the amount of cars and cargo on the train, but the average train takes about a mile to stop with the emergency brake.
As a driver or pedestrian, remember that it’s up to you to get out of the way of the train, because the train cannot move for you. Do not drive around the barriers or through the flashing lights in an attempt to get across the tracks before the train drives through. Drivers should pay attention to road signs and avoid passing other vehicles when approaching a rail crossing.
When driving in traffic, be sure that you do not stop on the tracks. Wait to move forward until there is enough space for your vehicle on the other side of the railroad crossing. If your vehicle stalls on the railroad tracks and a train is approaching, get yourself and all other passengers out of the vehicle and run toward the oncoming train while angling away from the tracks to avoid being injured by flying glass and metal. If your vehicle stalls on the tracks and a train is not approaching, look for a sign at the crossing that provides the railroad’s phone number. Call the railroad to warn them about the obstacle on the tracks.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an auto accident at a railroad crossing, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.