Cars Are No Match for Trains in Railroad Crossing Accidents

It's tempting to speed up and try to out run those flashing lights and descending bars at railroad crossings to make it across before the train appears. But don't do it!

In 2015 there were 2,059 accidents at railway crossings, resulting in 967 injuries and 244 deaths (Federal Railway Association). Many of these could have been prevented if drivers pay attention to and obey train crossing signs and lights.

However, it's not always the car's fault. Many railroad crossing accidents can be blamed on:

  • Fatigued or inadequately trained train operator
  • Inadequate maintenance of signs, tracks, crossing gates, lights and safety barriers
  • Train operator who is distracted or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Visual obstructions like broken signs or overgrown vegetation
  • Mechanical failure

Many railroad crossing accidents can be blamed on negligence or defective machinery and an individual who has been injured in this type of accident may be eligible for compensation for those injuries.

Safety Tips for Railroad Crossings

Drivers of any type of vehicle must take safety precautions when crossing railroad tracks. The force of a 30-car freight train hitting a car is equivalent to a car crushing a soda can - in other words, the car doesn't stand a chance.

Check the following safety tips to refresh your skills when approaching a railway crossing carefully:

  • Always be super-cautious when approaching a railway crossing. Even if the lights aren't flashing, look both ways before proceeding.
  • Don't try to beat a train to a crossing - the train is moving faster than it appears.
  • Trains can't stop rapidly because of their extreme weight. Here's an interesting fact: At 55 mph, when a freight train applies the emergency brakes, it can take at least a mile - 18 football fields - to stop!
  • Don't drive around the gates if lowered! It's illegal and can cost you your life.
  • Avoid getting trapped on the tracks. If road traffic ahead is backed up so you won't be able to get your car all the way off the tracks - remember that the train is wider than the tracks - wait until there is plenty of room for your car to proceed.
  • If your vehicle is ever stuck on the rails, leave the car immediately, walk away from the area and call for emergency help.

You can help train authorities by reporting a malfunctioning signal. Call your local police or the railway's 800 number posted near the signal.

Railroad Crossing Accidents Can Be Devastating

Train vs. car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries as well as wrongful death. If you have been injured in a railroad crossing or any other train accident, contact the Law Offices of Diana Santa Maria, P.A. for a free consultation. Attorneys Diana Santa Maria and Laura D. Dolin, personal injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, will fight to get you the compensation that you and your family deserve. You can reach us at (954) 434-1077 or contact us via the website.