Freeman Grapevine is back with another tale of some really dumb driving. As many of you already know, railroad lines tic-tac across the state in almost every city and town. Many of the crossings are clearly marked with lights and gates, however there are a few that aren’t as clearly marked as they should be and thus can pose a hazard to the unsuspecting motorist. I think, for the most part though that many of the collisions between cars and trains are a direct result of driver error. And in many cases, driver stupidity.
Here’s what I mean. I was waiting at a rail crossing the other day, in fact I was the very first car in line. No big deal, sometimes you just have to wait these things out, besides, It would only be a couple of minutes out of my day to allow the train to pass by. And that’s when it happened, a car two vehicles behind my GMC darts out of line and attempts to navigate around the lowered crossing arms. I laid on my horn knowing that what this person was doing wasn’t only a danger to himself, but to those of us at the front of the line as well as the engineer.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! He made it around with just seconds between him and the passing train, made a right turn and continued down the road before the train ended up blocking my view.
I didn’t know if I was more scared, or furious that this individual would create such a dangerous situation. As I continued to think about it, the rail gates raised and I made a right, headed in the same direction as our train-dare-devil did and low an behold, who was stopped at the very next red light? You guessed it, our idiot driver. All of that, just to be stuck at the same red light I was at. Evidence that it simply doesn’t pay to take such dumb risks.
The following figures are courtesy of car-accidents.com:
According to the US Department of Transportation there are about 5,800 vehicle train crashes each year in the United States-usually at Railroad crossings. These accidents kill 600 people and injure about 2,300. More than 50% of all railroad fatal accidents occur at crossings with passive, or inadequate safety devices (often none at all!). During daylight about 75% of car train collisions involve the train hitting the car, while at night about 50% of the time the car runs into the train!
Car vs. Train accidents are very serious things. Do not attempt to outrun a train, or cross the guard barriers, you are tempting fate. Besides, what can be so important that would cause you to be so ridiculously irresponsible? The answer is: nothing. Respect railroad crossings, not just for your own good, but for the safety of those you should be waiting in line with.
If you have any stories about drivers you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to leave your recount in the comments section below. Freeman Grapevine cares about your safety and the safety of others on the road.