Last year, a 19-year-old Kuna man died in a collision with a train while driving. These types of accidents are rare, but often fatal. In 2015, train accidents across the country killed 244 people and injured nearly 1,000. Here are some important facts and safety tips that can help prevent these tragic collisions.
Factors in Train Accidents
The Speed and Weight of Trains
A train moving at an average speed can take as long as 1 mile to stop completely. Even if its conductor hits the brakes immediately after seeing a car on the tracks, the chances of preventing a collision are very small. And since trains are so large, they can do a lot of damage even when moving slowly.
Drivers should only cross train tracks when they are completely clear. Cars crossing at the wrong time cause many train accidents. Drivers themselves can get hit, or they can hit bystanders and put them in danger. In Utah, a 69-year-old man was knocked onto a railroad track by an SUV before being hit by a train.
Fences (or Lack Thereof)
Some train tracks are insufficiently marked or secured. When there are no crosswalks on tracks, some people think they can climb over or under fences and cross anyways. Many train accidents involve people crossing tracks illegally.
Train track crossing gates are not always entirely reliable. They may raise and lower at misleading times, causing drivers to cross unsafely. Do not rely on these gates to tell you when crossing is safe. Look both ways and use caution when deciding to cross.
How to Avoid Train Accidents
Better Safe Than Sorry
- This should be all drivers’ motto when crossing train tracks. Always err on the side of caution.
Leave Plenty of Space
- When you approach train tracks and the crossing gate is down, stop far behind the tracks. Leave plenty of space in order to avoid the many forms of train accidents.
Look Both Ways — Again and Again
- Look both ways whenever you are crossing tracks. If in doubt, keep looking and keep waiting. If it is foggy or rainy, roll down your windows so you can hear approaching trains.
- It is very dangerous to try to outrun a train. They move quickly, and it is difficult to judge how much ground they can cover in a short amount of time. Your best bet is staying safe and waiting.
Drivers carry a responsibility for their safety around train tracks. Although train conductors are highly-trained and follow many safety precautions, there is nothing more valuable than good judgement in preventing train accidents.
If you are injured in a train accident or need legal advice, contact Hansen Injury Law today. We are dedicated to serving and helping you.