Did you know that a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours in the United States? Over half of these collisions happen at crossings with lights and/or gates, according to Operation Lifesaver.
Railroad Safety Week takes place each September to raise awareness for improving safety on and around railroads. In this article, we’re discussing what you should know about railroad safety.
Trains Can’t Yield
Trains don’t run on set schedules, so even if you’re used to driving over a railroad crossing multiple times a day you won’t be able to predict when the next train is coming through. It’s important to pay attention to railroad lights and gates so you know when to stop your vehicle.
It takes time to slow down a train’s momentum. If a locomotive engineer spots a vehicle or person on the tracks ahead of the train, the only thing they can do quickly is sound the warning horn. They can also apply the emergency brakes, but the train won’t stop in time to avoid a collision. It takes the average freight train over a mile to stop with emergency braking.
Pay Attention to Railroad Crossings
Over half of collisions between motor vehicles and trains take place at railroad crossings that have automatic signals. The reason? Some drivers attempt to drive around the gates or through flashing red lights to get through before the train does or because they assume the signals aren’t working properly. Never ignore active railroad crossing warnings.
If you find yourself in a vehicle that’s stuck on the tracks while a train is approaching, run away from the tracks at an angle towards the train. If your vehicle is stuck on the tracks and no train is approaching, get all passengers to a safe location. Check the crossing area for a sign with the railroad’s number and call to warn them about the stalled vehicle.
Railroad tracks are not public property, although they are often used as though they are. Don’t trespass on private property by hiking, jogging, walking your pet, or doing other activities on or near railroad tracks.
If you or a loved one has been injured, 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.