How to Avoid Accidents at Railroad Crossings
The lightest train car, an empty passenger train, weighs nearly 80,000 pounds. A diesel locomotive, which pulls cargo across the United States, can weigh almost 200,000 pounds and in some cases may go up to 400,000 pounds.
Irrespective of its speed, the force of a locomotive can cause extreme damage to even the strongest and most well-built automobile and its occupants. It is nearly impossible to escape a train collision without catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Why do Railroad Crossing Collisions Occur in Kentucky?
The various causes for railroad crossing accidents include:
Faulty Warning Signals
A well-functioning crossing gate has lights that flash, alarms that sound, and gates that lower. A devastating accident could occur if any of these functions are compromised.
Absence of Warning Signals
Crossing gates without the proper signals lead to public safety hazards.
Vision Obstruction for Automobiles
If a car or pedestrian is unable to see an oncoming train due to unclear sightlines, it could lead to a catastrophic accident. Such impediments can be permanent as well as temporary. For instance, overgrown bushes and trees can impede the view of motorists. Furthermore, if a train is parked in close proximity to a crossing, it can compromise the ability to see an oncoming train.
The Inability of Train to Signal
Upon approaching a crossing, a train should signal to allow others in the area to realize that it is coming.
An Error by the Train Operator
Errors on the part of the train operator have led to several railroad crossing collisions. Such errors include intoxicated or distracted operation or excessive speed.
Defects in Train Tracks
Devastating train derailments at or near a railroad crossing can occur due to train track defects.
Defects in the Train or its Components
At times, faults in the train itself, such as in its engine, brakes, or other components, could lead to impediments in the train’s operation as well as its ability to reduce speed or stop at railroad crossings.
Presence of Objects on Train Tracks
The presence of objects on a train track, such as cars or animals, can often cause serious accidents.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Automobile drivers must follow the rules and road signs as well as pay attention to the situation on the road when traveling towards railroad crossings in KY
- Always bear in mind that danger is associated with a railroad crossing
- All railroad crossings are not equipped with boom gates, and several do not have flashing lights installed
- When you view a sign indicating a crossing, it is vital to slow down, look around, listen, and prepare to stop at the yield sign but halt at the stop sign. The flashing lights installed at railway crossing warn people of oncoming trains, and the inability to stop when these lights are flashing is highly hazardous.
- Reduce the speed of your vehicle to allow yourself sufficient time to stop if necessary. This act might add a few minutes to your travel time but could prevent a devastating collision.
- Trains are usually closer and moving faster than they appear. Therefore, do not be confused by an optical illusion.
- If you see red lights flashing, do not enter a level crossing. Prior to driving across the railroad tracks, wait until the lights stop flashing.
- Never cross the rail tracks until the time that you are certain that the train(s) have passed. In case there are signals, remain stationary until they are not flashing anymore. If the crossing is equipped with a barrier, stay put until it rises before you drive across.
- Do not queue on a railway crossing. In case you have halted on a crossing and see a train approaching, immediately drive your vehicle off the track or step out of your automobile and move clear.
- Stop your vehicle at a safe distance behind the barriers and wait until there is adequate space to clear the tracks.
- Ensure that you are not in a position to get trapped on the railway tracks. Only move across a level crossing if you are certain that you can clear the crossing without halting. Notably, the train is wider than the tracks by a meter on both sides.
- If you find that you are trapped on a railroad crossing or have car issues, immediately ensure that everyone exits the vehicle and moves rapidly from the tracks to a secure location. Standing on the tracks and waving for the train to stop will not help, as it cannot stop.
- Call your local law enforcement in KY for help if you find that you are stuck at a railroad crossing.
- Keep in mind that irrespective of the size and strength of your vehicle, in a train collision, the train will always cause catastrophic damage.
Get a Case Review by Dedicated Railroad Accident Lawyers in KY
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury due to negligence on the part of the railroad company, it is vital to work with an experienced railroad accident attorney. Robust legal counsel can make sure that you get the fair compensation that you deserve, rather than suffer silently.
The skilled railroad attorneys at the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates thoroughly review each case and develop a strong strategy to pursue legal action. Call today at (502) 895-2626 for a free case review.