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What do drivers need to know about railroad crossing safety?

You know that school buses always stop at train track crossings before moving on, regardless of the caution lights being on or not. You don’t need to be quite as cautious when driving across the railroad tracks, you tell yourself, as long as you are careful enough. However, you and other Louisiana residents should understand that it may be easier to get in an accident with a train than you might think.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development points out that our state is fourth in the country for highway-rail crossing deaths: 13 people died in railroad crossing accidents in Louisiana in 2015. Most fatalities involve someone trespassing on the tracks or a driver attempting to beat a train. You may want to take note of the following safety tips:

  • Always yield to an oncoming train at a railroad crossing.
  • Stop behind the safety arm or warning lights, and never stop over the tracks at a red light.
  • Never try to beat a train across the tracks.
  • Don’t walk on railroad tracks; this is trespassing and can earn you a fine.
  • Only cross the tracks on foot at designated points, and remember that trains are at least three feet wider than either side of the tracks.

Even while observing these safety precautions, you may wonder how anyone can get into an accident with a vehicle so large and obvious. You might not realize that many train engines are quieter today than they were in decades past. Also, a train’s immense size can create the illusion of approaching slower than it actually is.

Every three hours, a train strikes someone somewhere in the United States. You may avoid becoming another statistic by understanding the dangers and respecting railroad crossing rules. If someone else was responsible for your injuries in an accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

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