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Railway Crossing Dangers Can Derail Your Life. Follow These Important Safety Rules.

Posted on - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 under Safety Tips

According to federal statistics, Georgia had the fifth-highest number of highway-rail crossing collisions in the country in 2014. Of the 2,287 U.S. railroad grade crossing collisions that year, 107 were in Georgia. Those Georgia railway crossing incidents resulted in 38 injuries and 8 deaths.

It doesn’t take much imagination to understand what happens when a speeding train hits a vehicle on the tracks. As Operation Lifesaver, a national rail safety advocacy group, puts it:

The average locomotive weighs about 400,000 pounds or 200 tons; it can weigh up to 6,000 tons. This makes the weight ratio of a car to a train proportional to that of a soda can to a car. We all know what happens to a soda can hit by a car.

If you find yourself approaching a railroad crossing, whether it has a functioning crossing signal or not, keep in mind these additional facts and safety tips from Operation Lifesaver:

  • Freight trains don’t travel at fixed times, and schedules for passenger trains change. Always expect a train at each highway-rail intersection.
  • All train tracks are private property. Never walk on tracks; it’s illegal trespass and highly dangerous.
  • By the time a locomotive engineer sees a trespasser or vehicle on the tracks it’s too late. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile—the length of 18 football fields—to stop. Trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
  • Trains have the right of way 100% of the time over emergency vehicles, cars, the police and pedestrians.
  • A train can extend three feet or more beyond the steel rail, putting the safety zone for pedestrians well beyond the three-foot mark. If there are rails on the railroad ties always assume the track is in use, even if there are weeds or the track looks unused.
  • Trains can move in either direction at any time. Sometimes their cars are pushed by locomotives instead of being pulled, which is especially true in commuter and light rail passenger service.
  • Today’s trains are quieter than ever, producing no telltale “clackety-clack.” Any approaching train is always closer, moving faster, than you think.
  • Remember to cross train tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings,
    and obey all warning signs and signals posted there.

Stay alert around railroad tracks. No texting, headphones or other distractions that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train; never mix rails and recreation.

Sometimes, however, even the most cautious driver can find themselves in a devastating railroad crossing accident through no fault of their own. If the railroad company failed to erect or maintain signals or otherwise kept the property at or around a railway crossing in a manner that made it unreasonably dangerous, it could be held liable for any injuries or damages sustained by a driver or pedestrian.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident at a railway crossing, please give The Parian Law Firm in metro Atlanta a call today. We represent injury victims exclusively and are committed to getting justice and compensation for our clients. Please contact us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.