You may or may not have seen the news report (January 24th, 2017) about the passenger train that hit the semi truck. If not, click HERE and link to it.
I cannot imagine what the operator of the train or the truck driver were thinking when it all happened. After all, the crossing was marked wasn’t it? The lights and gate and alarm always work don’t they? NOT ALWAYS. According to the investigators, ice build up in the Salt Lake, Utah area was a possible cause.
Did you know that only about 1/3 of our railroad crossings here in the US are actually controlled? That means that the other 2/3 ~ more than likely in suburban and rural areas ~ have NO LIGHTS, NO GATE, NO ALARM to tell you that there is a train coming. Some have stop signs but many may not.
Railroad crossings are dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
~ Three out of four crashes occur within 25 miles of a motorist's home.
~ Fifty percent of all crashes occur within five miles of home.
~ A motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.
~ A train hitting a car is like a car hitting a pop can - it's no contest.
As you approach a railroad crossing you need to SLOW DOWN!! Treat a railroad crossing like you would an uncontrolled intersection. Look both ways before you cross to make sure that there isn’t a train coming. You also need to be aware of how many tracks are at the crossing. Once you know its safe go across the tracks and make sure that your entire vehicle and anything you may be hauling clears the tracks with a little extra room. If you cannot fully clear the tracks you shouldn’t start across them.