As drivers, we drive over railroad tracks quite often, and if you have been driving for a while, you have had to wait for a train to pass at least once. Having to wait for train might be a temporary inconvenience, but everyone is very aware of how dangerous a train vs. car collision can be. Despite our knowledge, train vs. car collisions are still a problem in the United States. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there were 2,112 highway-rail incidents that occurred nationwide during the 2017 fiscal year (FY), which represents a 4.9% increase from the 2,014 highway-rail incidents that occurred during the 2016 fiscal year. The FRA categorizes a highway-rail incident as any impact between a train and a highway user such as a car or a pedestrian. The highway-rail incidents that occurred during the 2017 FY resulted in approximately 242 fatalities and 853 injuries nationwide.
However, being involved in a collision with a train at a railroad crossing is not the only thing that Ft. Lauderdale drivers have to worry about. During the 2017 FY, the FRA reports that there were 1,241 train derailments across the United States, and in Florida, the Florida Department of Highway Traffic Safety and Motor Vehicles has reported that there were over 200 car accidents involving a railway vehicle in 2016 with seven of these accidents resulting in one or more fatalities. These statistics demonstrate that you don’t have to be in vehicle that is sitting on railroad tracks to be involved in a train vs. car collision. You could be waiting for a train to pass through the city or simply driving on a road that runs parallel to the train tracks in Broward County, and without warning, you can become involved in one of the most dangerous types of car accidents that occur in the United States.
3 Tips to Minimize Railroad Accident Damages
Being involved in a train vs. car accident can be one of the scariest experiences you will have in your life, but there are certain things you can do to minimize the damage a train vs. car accident can cause.
1. If Your Car is Stopped on Train Tracks, Get Out Immediately
According to Operation Lifesaver (OLI), a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing railroad accidents, a person or vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours in the United States. So, if you are in a dangerous situation with a train, you should take every step possible to minimize the damage the accident causes. In a scenario where your vehicle is stopped on top of a railroad crossing, due to traffic or perhaps a mechanical issue with your car, you should exit the vehicle immediately, regardless of whether you can see a train coming or not.
According to OLI, it can take a freight train a mile or more to come to a complete stop with its emergency brakes engaged if it is traveling at 55 mph. Therefore, the chances of a train being able to stop in time to avoid colliding with your car is slim, but you can replace a car, not you life.
2. Run Away from the Tracks but Towards the Train
One thing that can cause serious injuries in a train vs. car collision is flying debris. Remember, a train traveling at high speed can and normally will break a vehicle in half, which will send heavy pieces of the vehicle flying through the air. As such, if you know a train is going to collide with a car, you should first run away from the train tracks and then, towards the train making a 95 degree angle. If you run in the direction the train is traveling towards, you are more likely to get hit by flying debris.
3. If Your Car is Stuck, Call the Posted Emergency Phone Number
If your car has broken down at a railroad crossing and a train is not traveling towards you, you should immediately call the phone number posted on a sign at or near the railroad crossing. This is the phone number to the Emergency Notification System (ENS) that is operated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). By notifying the DOT of your situation, you can ensure that any trains traveling in your direction will be told to stop. This could stop an accident from happening completely in some instances.
Train vs. Car Accident Lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Regardless of how careful you are, accidents can and will happen, which is why you should always contact a car accident attorney if you are ever involved in a car vs. train collision. 1-800-INJURED is a lawyer and medical referral service who can connect you to our network of attorneys who have dedicated their careers to helping car accident victims. So don’t waste valuable time that could be used to investigate your case and seek the compensation you deserve. Call 1-800-INJURED today.