According to data collected by the Federal Railroad Administration, every 3 hours someone in the United States is hit by a train. Among the most dangerous states for railroad related injuries, Florida ranks 9th in the nation for railroad crossing accidents. Fortunately, drivers can prevent many of these accidents by practicing safe driving habits while near railroads. Our legal team has compiled a list of safety tips to help improve railroad crossing for all motorists:
1. Be Prepared
Always be aware of your surroundings as a driver. Know when a railroad crossing is coming up, and be sure you stop where directed. Look around for pedestrians, read all relevant signs posted around the tracks and drive slowly. Being a keen observer means using all of your senses, listen for an incoming train just in case other systems fail and you are not warned properly. Not all train tracks will have crossing gates or flashing lights, so be aware that sometimes you will need to rely on your own senses and less noticeable warnings.
2. Never Stop on the Tracks
Before crossing the tracks, make sure there is plenty of room for your vehicle on the other side. Never, under any circumstances, stop your vehicle on the tracks. There is always a chance that your vehicle may malfunction, get stuck, or stall. Needless to say, if you are prevented from moving off of the tracks, you could face serious injury or death. If your car stalls or stops on the tracks, move away from the vehicle and the tracks at a 45 degree angle and call 911 immediately.
3. Know the Signs
Not every railroad crossing is the same. Some will have multiple tracks, others will have only one, some may have flashing lights and crossing gates, others will not. Familiarize yourself with railroad signs, both on the ground and posted beside or over the road. If there is no designated stopping point, stop your vehicle 15 feet before the railroad and look in both directions to listen and look for any signs of a train.
4. Never Race a Train
Trains always have the right of way because they are far heavier than ordinary vehicles and are much more difficult to stop. If you see a train coming, even if it is far away, you should never attempt to beat the train. If you can see a train or can hear its approach, stay put and wait for the train to pass. After the first train has passed, always look and listen for a second one before proceeding across the railroad tracks.
While these railroad crossing tips can help, sometimes accidents do happen. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a railroad crossing incident, Attorney Willis can help. With over 20 years of personal injury experience, our attorney at Willis Law, P.A. has the knowledge and skill to help you with your injury case.
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