After responding to two train-related fatalities in recent months, the RCMP is calling on people to stay alert and stay safe when driving across the railroads.
According to Operation Lifesaver, which works to prevent these accidents, every year more than 100 Canadians are seriously injured or killed as the result of railway crossing or trespassing incidents.
Trains can take two kilometres to come to a complete stop, and someone in a car is 40 times more likely to die in a collision with a train. Operation Lifesaver explains that by following a few safety guidelines drivers can help ensure they make it to their destination safely.
This means knowing what railway signs mean, looking and actively listening for trains when passing tracks, which means rolling down windows and turning down music as well. At railway crossings with active warning devices, remain stopped until the gates are fully raised and the lights stop flashing.
Before proceeding through any railway crossing, someone should make sure they’ve got a clear view of the tracks and are certain no other trains are approaching from either direction.
From there, it’s a matter of staying alert by not being on a phone, talking with a passenger or keeping music up, as trains can be quieter than they used to be, and because of a train’s size, it is also hard to judge how far away it is or what speed it is travelling at.
Finally, drivers should never try to race a train, Operation Lifesaver says. The weight comparison between a car and a train is like a car running over a pop can. The average train weighs more than 5.5 million kilograms to a car’s weighs about 1,375 kilograms.
People needing a refresher on what railway signs mean, or more details about this kind of safety, can consult the Operation Lifesaver website.