A Train Hits A Pedestrian or Vehicle Every Three Hours – Will Your Drivers Be a Casualty?

Your car stalls on the tracks when a train is coming.  Do you know which way to run?  More importantly, do your crews?

The answer is to run at a 45 degree angle toward the train, even though your instincts may be to run away from the direction of the train.


The reason is that running at an angle away from the train could put you directly into the debris path of the collision.



The information was from a great presentation by Christobal Parras of Jaguar Hydrostatic Testing  at the Permian Basin STEPS meeting last Tuesday,  His talk was based on information from a group called Operation Lifesaver.   Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit organized by the railroads to spread awareness of the potential hazards at rail crossings.

The good news is that train/ vehicle collisions have dropped from about 12,000 in 1973 to about 2,000 last year.  collisions are also almost entirely preventable if drivers are aware of the dangers and trained on how to pass grade crossings.

The bad news?  There is plenty, starting with the fact that, in train collisions with vehicles or people walking on railroad tracks, the train wins.

  • A motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.
  • More than 50% of collisions with vehicles result in a death or injury.
  • Walking or standing on the tracks or near the tracks kills and injures nearly a thousand people a year.

The group has a number of training aids on its website and can even provide speakers to talk about rail safety to groups.   If you are not including grade crossing safety as a part of your driving safety program, you need to.  Here is one place to start – AMTRAK produced an amazing awareness video called Cheating Death.   It is perfect for your next safety meeting.



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