November 10, 2021 | The Jaklitsch Law Group When most people think about accidents, they think about car accidents with other vehicles or with pedestrians. Not many people think about the very real possibility of accidents caused by trains or train crossings. If you do not know much about train-related accidents, get to know more about accidents caused by train crossings and trains so you can be sure you are doing what you can to stay as safe as possible. Factors That Cause Train Accidents There are many factors that can cause a train accident or a train crossing accident. Conductor Error Train conductors are human and are not infallible. As such, they could commit errors at any time while conducting the train. If they do not brake when they should before a particular crossing, miss signals from another train, or otherwise do not pay attention to what they are doing, horrible things can happen on (and off) those train tracks. Mechanical Failure Of course, machinery is not infallible either. Trains can fail or have issues just like any other motor vehicle. When a train is traveling fast and suffers a mechanical failure, it can cause major collisions and problems. Mechanical failure can also occur in the lights and protective barriers that let drivers know a train is coming. Driver Negligence Oftentimes, accidents that occur at railroad crossings are due to simple driver negligence. Car drivers may not pay attention to the crossings, try to beat the bars coming down, or might even stop on the railroad tracks in traffic. All of these acts of negligence can lead to serious accidents. How You Can Avoid Train Accidents While knowing the factors that go into train accidents can be beneficial, the most important thing to know are the ways you can prevent yourself from being involved in a train-related accident. Some of these practices include the following. Never Race a Train at the Tracks One of the best ways to avoid being involved in train accidents is to simply never try to race a train to the crossing. It is understandable that you do not want to wait for a train to go by to get where you are going and that you might be late because you waited, but it is better to be safe and late than in a major train accident. Know How Long It Takes a Train to Stop Movies and television can sometimes give people unrealistic expectations as far as how long it takes vehicles in general to stop. When it comes to trains, this is especially problematic. Many people seem to believe that if they cut in front of a train, the train will be able to slow down or stop for them. However, the reality is that if a freight train is traveling at the average speed of 55 miles per hour, it can take a mile or more to stop. Passenger trains travel faster but are lighter and often need about the same distance to stop, sometimes a bit more depending on the length of the train. The point is that trains cannot stop or slow down quickly. As such, if a train is clearly visible, it is too close to stop for you. Do Not Stop on Tracks In cities that have railroad tracks near intersections and throughout town, many people choose to almost ignore the existence of the tracks and stop on them or under the barriers when traffic is stopped. While the majority of the time there is not a train coming through those areas when people stop there, there is always that chance that one will arrive. Knowing now how hard it is for trains to stop and slow down, you can see how being stopped on the tracks in traffic could be one of the most dangerous situations you could be in. If you cannot quickly move forward or backward, you will not be able to get out of the path of the train. Now that you know more about train-related accidents and how to avoid them, you can take the best possible care of yourself going forward. Call us today if you are involved in a train accident.