A quick Google search of Memphis railroad fatalities yields tragic and startling results - far too many are killed or seriously injured in train-car collisions each year. These tragedies are easily avoided, however, by following some very basic train safety rules. According to the National Safety Council, you are 40 times more likely to be killed in an accident with a train than with another automobile. Remember that trains do not always follow set schedules, so when approaching a track, always expect a train to be nearby. It isn’t safe to stop closer than 15 feet, so be mindful of the lined barriers in front of the tracks! Here are a few other tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe on roads near tracks:
Never ever drive around lowered gates! It is not only dangerous, it is also illegal. Even if you think you can beat the train, do not risk it. Always anticipate that the train is going faster than it appears. If the signal and gate seem to be malfunctioning, call the emergency number posted or your local law enforcement agency.
Watch for vehicles that are required to stop at railroad crossings. Vehicles like school buses or those carrying hazardous materials must always stop and check both directions before crossing the tracks. Do not tail these vehicles and get caught off guard by a full stop when approaching the tracks!
Practice appropriate safety protocol when approaching tracks. Turn down the stereo and roll down the windows to be able to hear if a train is signaling its approach. Never stop on a train track, even if a train is not approaching. If your vehicle has stalled and a train is approaching, abandon your vehicle quickly.
You may not pay attention to tracks on a normal basis if it isn’t part of your regular commute. However, being alert and driving with care around railroad crossings is a skill to add to your driving repertoire to keep you and your family safe on the road, so keep these tips handy!