Over the next three years, 300 railroad crossings in Oklahoma will get major upgrades. These include things such as new flashing lights, gates, and new concrete surfacing. Unfortunately, many other railroad crossings in our state also need upgrades. According to Operation Lifesaver, Inc., about every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. This does not need to happen. Whether you are driving along one of the new crossings or you encounter an older railroad crossing, there are several things you should do.
- Never drive around lowered gates. If you think the gates are malfunctioning, call a local law enforcement agency to report the problem.
- Never try to race a train. If you see a train coming, wait for it to go by before you proceed to cross the tracks. The train is likely coming faster than it appears.
- Never stop on the tracks. Even if you did not hear or see a train, one could come before you are able to move off the tracks. It is also important to stop your vehicle a safe distance from the tracks. Trains will extend about three feet beyond the tracks on both sides. Give a train adequate room to pass you.
- If your vehicle ever stalls on the tracks and a train is approaching, abandon your vehicle right away. Run in the direction from which the train is coming, staying a safe distance away from the tracks to avoid being hit by the train. Running in the same direction the train is traveling may cause you to be hit by debris from your vehicle when the train hits it.
- Understand that a train cannot and will not stop for you. They have the right-of-way at all times, even when it comes to emergency vehicles. When applying their brakes, it takes a train going 55 mph about a mile to come to a stop. That is too late to avoid a collision.
- As a pedestrian, never walk along the railroad tracks. If you need to cross the railroad tracks, do so at designated areas and make sure there are no trains approaching from either side.
While it is generally up to you to prevent a collision with a train, no matter how safely you drive, you cannot always avoid an accident with another vehicle on the road. Auto accident lawyers can help you understand your rights if you are the victim of an automobile accident. Contact us to learn more.