Crossing a Railroad? Tips on How to Stay Safe

Every three hours  of every day in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Most of these accidents happen at a railroad crossing. Because of this startling statistic, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has implemented a nationwide campaign on railroad crossing safety. The purpose of the campaign is to educate the public and increase awareness around railroad crossings and tracks in hopes of reducing train-related injuries and deaths. 

Railroad Crossing Facts

Railroad crossings are dangerous, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). There are approximately 775 railroads in the U.S. with 140,000 miles of railroad track. As a result, there are more than 200,000 railroad crossings, more than 55% of which are active, in America. Active means that the railroad crossing has bells, gates, and/or flashing lights. The remaining crossings are passive, meaning that there are signs and markings but no active warning devices to alert others that a train is coming. Studies show that:

  • It takes a train at least one mile to come to a complete stop if it is traveling at 55 MPH;
  • As many as 1,883 highway-rail crossing accidents happened in 2020, while approximately 2,216 occurred in 2019
  • 95% of all railroad-related accident deaths are due to railroad crossing crashes and pedestrians on train tracks.
  • Between 2012 and 2016, as many as 1,225 people were killed while attempting to cross a railroad track.

It is our hope that the railroad crossing facts and tips will help keep you and your loved ones safe around trains. 

Railroad Crossing Tips

It is no secret that railroad crossings are dangerous for drivers and pedestrians. So, how can you and your loved ones stay safe in such situations? According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the following safety tips should be considered:

  • Be prepared and expect to stop at all railroad crossings;
  • When approaching a passive railroad crossing, be extra cautious as there are not flashing lights or gates;
  • Always slow down when approaching a railway crossing;
  • Always look both ways and listen before driving over a railroad crossing;
  • Be sure to understand signs and warning devices of railroad crossings;
  • Ensure there is plenty of space on the other side of the tracks for your car to safely cross over;
  • Do not ever attempt to race a train, drive around lowered gates, or stop on railroad tracks;
  • If your vehicle happens to stall on the railroad tracks, get yourself and anyone else out of the car and get away from the tracks even if you do not hear or see a train coming. Then immediately locate the Emergency Notification System (ENS) sign and call the number to let authorities know there is a car on the train tracks;
  • When at a crossing with multiple tracks, look for a second train approaching from either direction on the second track;
  • Proceed through a railroad crossing only if you are certain you can clear it completely without stopping (i.e., do not get stuck on the tracks).

Legal Help in Nevada

It is our hope that the above will help keep you and your loved ones safe around trains. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a railroad crossing accident, or suffered any other type of injury due to another’s fault, contact the skilled attorneys at H&P Law today. 

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