Did you know ….
- Every 3 hours someone in the United States is hit by a train?*
- Among the most dangerous states for railroad related injuries, Florida ranks 9th in the nation for railroad crossing accidents.
- According to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis, there were 2,025 collisions at railroad crossings in 2016 resulting in 265 fatalities and 798 injuries.
Recently, a semi truck driver suffered minor injuries after he was struck by an Amtrak Train just south of the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. Unfortunately, these accidents can happen anywhere. Fortunately, these accidents can be prevented by drivers practicing safe driving habits while near railroads. Our team has compiled a list of tips to keep you safe!
1. Never Stop on the Tracks
Before crossing the tracks, make sure there is plenty of room for your vehicle on the other side. Never, under any circumstances, stop your vehicle on the tracks. There is always a chance that your vehicle may malfunction, get stuck, or stall. If you are prevented from moving off of the tracks, you could face serious injury or death. If your car stalls or stops on the tracks, move away from the vehicle and the tracks and call 911 immediately.
2. Be Alert
Always know of your surroundings as a driver. Know when a railroad crossing is coming up, and be sure you stop where directed. Look around for pedestrians, read all signs posted around the tracks and drive slowly. Be a keen observer, meaning use all of your senses, listen for an incoming train, so that if other systems fail, you can react properly. Not all train tracks will have crossing gates or flashing lights, so know that sometimes you must rely on your own senses and less noticeable warnings.
3. Know the Signs
Not every railroad crossing is the same. Some will have multiple tracks, others will have only one, some may have flashing lights and crossing gates, others will not. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there are two different railroad crossings:
- Passive Crossings. This crossing does not have any type of traffic control device. The decision to stop or proceed rests entirely in your hands. Passive crossings require you to recognize the crossing, search for any train using the tracks and decide if there is sufficient clear space to cross safely.
- Active Crossings. This crossing has a traffic control device installed at the crossing to regulate traffic at the crossing. These active devices include flashing red lights, with or without bells and flashing red lights with bells and gates.
Familiarize yourself with railroad signs, both on the ground and posted beside or over the road. If there is no designated stopping point, stop your vehicle 15 feet before the railroad and look in both directions to listen and look for any signs of a train.
4. Never Try to Race a Train
Trains always have the right of way because they are far heavier than ordinary vehicles and are much more difficult to stop. If you see a train coming, even if it is far away, you should never attempt to beat the train. If you can see a train or can hear its approach, stay put and wait for the train to pass. After the first train has passed, always look and listen for a second one before proceeding across the railroad tracks.
While these railroad crossing tips can help, sometimes accidents happen. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a train accident, Brooks Law Group has the knowledge and skill to help you with your injury case. Text or call us at 800-LAW-3030. (800-529-3030)
* According to data collected by the Federal Railroad Administration