While railroad vs. vehicle accidents are relatively rare, they are almost always deadly. Crossing railroad tracks should be treated with the utmost caution. Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of the dangers—and how they can avoid disaster.
Did you know that Ohio has 36 freight railroads that cover over 5,000 miles of track? There are also over 5,700 railroad crossings throughout the state. Ohio ranks fifth in rail traffic across the country, so safety precautions are paramount. “The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), in conjunction with the Ohio Rail Development Commission, is responsible for ensuring the safety of motorists at public grade crossings in Ohio.” The PUCO rail inspector team checks warning devices and approves the funding that enhance safety at public railroad crossings.
Despite the PUCO’s efforts, railroad safety also depends on attentive, cautious drivers. Here’s how to stay safe at Ohio railroad crossings—and when to call the Law Offices of Tim Misny for help.
How to approach railroad crossings
The PUCO advises the following:
- Approach cautiously: Turn on your four-way flashers and use the pull-out lane to warn other drivers you’re slowing down.
- Get ready to stop: Turn off the radio and air conditioner, and ask passengers to be quiet. Roll down your windows, and stop at least 15 feet away from the crossing.
- Look and listen: Look around the crossing and any mirrors, A-pillars or other obstructions.
- Make sure you can fit: Trains overhang the rails three feet on either side. If you can’t fit past the train on the other side of the crossing, don’t cross.
- Cross with care: Look again both ways, then safely cross the tracks.
- Keep going: Never stop on the tracks, even if lights flash or the gates come down. Some drivers freeze when this occurs, which can lead to accidents.
If your vehicle stalls or gets stuck on the tracks, get out immediately: trains traveling at 60 mph can take over a mile to stop. Move away from the tracks and toward the train at a 45-degree angle. Then call emergency services for help.
When a train vs. vehicle collision occurs, it’s important to call a personal injury attorney right away. Working with the Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you establish a claim against the responsible parties, whether negligent drivers, conductors or defective equipment caused the crash. When you call us, we’ll review your claim and help you recover the damages to which you are entitled.
Get help from an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer today
Caught in a train vs. car collision? I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (800) 556-4769 so that I can evaluate your case right away. We’ll fight to recover damages from the responsible parties, no matter who is at fault.