In terms of sheer force, the result of a train hitting a car is about the same as a car hitting an aluminum can: total destruction.
Common sense might tell you to keep away from trains and be cautious around railroad crossings. Unfortunately, common sense isn't all that common. The Federal Railroad Administration reports there were more than 2,000 highway/rail grade crossing incidents in the United States in 2015. The net result? 237 people killed and 991 seriously injured.
Here are a few simple reminders to keep you safe when it comes to trains:
- Obey the signals. Never attempt to drive under a gate as it is closing, or around a closed gate. If the gate begins to close while you're underneath, keep moving ahead until you clear the crossing.
- Even when things seem clear, look both ways at a crossing. If there are no trains in sight, cross the tracks quickly without stopping.
- Stay at least 15 feet away from the tracks when stopping for a train.
- If one train passes, make sure that a second train isn't approaching on another track. They can, and they do!
- If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, get everyone out and far away from the vehicle and tracks. Debris from any collision will tend to fly in the direction the train is traveling. Call local law enforcement for assistance.
Read more safety tips at Operation Lifesaver.