Railroad Crossing Safety for Drivers
— NBC12 WWBT Richmond (@NBC12) January 10, 2019
This Thursday in Richmond, Virginia, witnesses reported more than 10 drivers who navigated through the stop arms at the railroad crossing near Mayo Bridge. Apparently, a train paused on the tracks was causing a traffic delay, which inspired some to disregard the law in order to shave some minutes from their morning commute.
This scenario serves as a great reminder to review some basic precautions when it comes to railroad tracks and crossings. Here’s how to safely navigate railroad crossings, as well as what to do when a broken down train is obstructing the road.
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Safety tips for crossing the tracks
- Always expect a train to cross at any time if you’re driving close to a railroad crossing. Trains don’t always follow a set schedule and can approach from any direction.
- Trains don’t always use their horn when approaching, so be on the lookout for trains that aren’t using this signal.
- Avoid trying to beat a train. They’re often faster and closer than they appear to be.
- Once the train engineer applies the emergency brakes, it can still take up to a mile for the train to come to a total stop.
- If the railroad crossing arms are lowered, always stop your vehicle. Never drive through the arms, even if you don’t see a train close by. Another train could be approaching from the other direction. Besides being dangerous, this driving behavior is also illegal.
What to do when a train is stuck on the tracks
There’s a reason for those blue and white signs posted near a railroad crossing. If you notice a broken-down train obstructing the crossing, call the emergency number listed on one of these signs to report the incident.
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