Suddenly the ground starts shaking: small rocks bobble with the excitement, insects scurry away in fear, tumbleweed dance with the new rhythm. The parallel bars of steel vibrate uncontrollably. In the distance the billowing plumes of black smoke draw closer. You can’t move; bound by ropes and cords you admit defeat. Yonder comes the machine: ashen, birthed in the darkest furnace, and roaring with powerful, unstoppable kinetic energy. You give one heartfelt attempt to squirm out of your misfortune, but give up. Your pleads for help go unheard, drowned in the unsettling tones of the train’s whistle. The roaring grows exponentially, you know its close. With only ten feet left of your life, you close your eyes and await your fate. But wait! A cowboy on his horse rides hastily towards you. With knife in hand he leaps heroically off his steed and cuts your ropes. He grabs you, pulls you away from the tracks as the train rattles by. You’re saved.
We aren’t always this lucky
Newsweek reported that every 3 hours, a person or a car is hit by a train. The same study showed that highway-rail crossings accounted for 32% of rail fatalities. With a handful of fatal train accidents in the last few years, it is important to remind yourself how to avoid staring face to face with a conductor on the job. Here are a few daunting facts:
- The average locomotive weighs 400,000 pounds. A train hitting the side of your car would be proportional to that of a soda can, and a car. If a pedestrian were hit by a train, it would be proportional to a car hitting a mosquito.
- It takes the average train over a mile (traveling over 55 mph) to come to a complete stop. Thats over 18 football fields! Remember that trains aren’t able to stop like a car can.
- Trains are quieter now. Do not ever assume that just because you can’t hear a train, it isn’t there.
- Cross trains at designated pedestrian railway crossings.
- Do not go around lowered gates.
- Make sure that you able to cross railways without stopping.
- If your car stalls on the tracks, get out of the car immediately and run in the direction the train is coming in. This will help you avoid getting struck with debris.
- Trains have the right of way 100% of the time.
- Always expect a train.
Remember, life doesn’t always offer a last minute hero. Be your own hero by knowing beforehand what to do if you are caught in a sticky situation with an oncoming train. If you have been injured in a similar accident, call us. We will help you find the right compensation.
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay and Pete Linforth