Teen drivers, listen up, I have some information for you: Railroad crossing are dangerous. Okay, right about now you’re probably letting out a big sigh and probably shouting, “Duh! I’m not stupid!”
Well, I realize that my warning does seem a bit obvious. But I had to keep a good thing going. See, it appears that more actual crossing gates and a huge push for drivers to understand the dangers of ignoring those gates is actually saving more lives. I want that trend to continue.
According to Federal Railroad Administration Statistics, in 1981, 728 people died from accidents at railroad crossings. In 2006, that number has dropped to 362. (1) Education and the addition of more crossings with lowering gates have been successful at curving the death rate.
Undoubtedly, many people drive around crossing gates because they become impatient. They believe wherever they are heading outweighs the risk of ignoring the safety device before them. Some people see a stopped train, and as they maneuver around the crossing gates they discover there are more than one set of tracks. Sometimes they discover this too late.
Some people make the decision to drive around lowered gates because they believe the gates are malfunctioning, only to discover that the train was simply coming around a bend and could not be seen.
When I was younger, my wife’s sister was involved in a railroad crossing accident. Her boyfriend did not see the road flare that had been thrown down by the train conductor at a crossing without gates. He drove his vehicle into the side of the train, nearly killing himself and his passenger. Railroad crossings with no gates require extreme caution! Never take for granted that all railroad crossings have a functioning gate to prevent an accident.
Proverbs 13:21 (NIV) says, “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.” Be sure that it is wise instruction to treat each railroad crossing with extreme caution. Let’s keep that dropping death statistic on the downswing.
(1) Crossing Collisions and Casualties by Year. Operation Lifesaver, retrieved June 18, 2007 from http://www.oli.org/statistics/collisions_casualties_year.htm
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Good advice. I and my friends were almost killed in just such a situation. It was late evening, in the country, everthing was dark except for the car lights. Suddenly the driver of the car SLAMMED on the brakes as a fast moving train whizzed by in front us. There were 4 of us in the car; after the train past we all got out of the car and just walked and shook realizing just what had happened. When we all got back in the car no one said a word until we all arrived at home. We were all in our 20's at that time, but I have never forgotten it. LISTEN UP YOUNG PEOPLE...YOU MAY LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT. Please keep this going; it will save lives.