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Crossing Railroad Tracks Safely

February 17, 2022

Most people do not think twice about crossing over railroad tracks when driving their vehicles, but the reality is that this must be done safely. Failing to safely cross railroad tracks could lead to devastating collisions and catastrophic injuries or death. If this is the case, please reach out to one of our skilled Albuquerque injury lawyers today. 

Safety Tips for Drivers Crossing a Track

There are various steps that you can take to ensure that you and your passengers remain safe when approaching and crossing railroad tracks in New Mexico.

  1. Approach the tracks cautiously. You always need to expect that there is a train in the vicinity, even if you cannot see or hear one right away. If you approach a railroad track with this in mind, you will be one step ahead of the game. Most trains do not travel on a regular schedule, so you need to be cautious when approaching tracks at any time of the day or night.
  2. Turn on four-way flashers. As you approach a railroad track, you can take additional safety measures and activate your emergency flashers to warn other drivers that you are slowing down as you cross the tracks.
  3. Turn off distractions. If you know you are approaching a railroad track, we encourage you to turn off your music and any fans inside the vehicle. Additionally, you should roll down your windows as you approach the tracks. We encourage you to come to a complete stop anywhere from between 20 to 50 feet away from the crossing.
  4. Cross only at designated crossings. You should only ever cross railroad tracks at regular crossings. Sometimes, this will mean crossing where there are flashing lights and arms that extend down to let you know a train is coming. However, not all railroad track crossings necessarily have lights and arms. Some crossings are simply at roadways where you have to be extra vigilant in ensuring that there is no train approaching.
  5. Stop, look, and listen. Once you have stopped at a railroad track, you should listen for a train and look down both ways of the track. Be mindful of anything that could be blocking your view, including your mirrors or the frame of your vehicle. If you do not notice any signs of a train or hear anything, you should look one more time and then proceed forward.
  6. Keep going if you have started crossing. If you start crossing a track after you think you are clear but then notice a train coming, do not panic and stop on the tracks. Keep going until you reach the other side safely.
  7. Trains are closer and move faster than you think. Always remember that trains are closer and going faster than you think they are. If you see a train approaching and think that you can get across the track to avoid having to wait, this is a dangerous proposition.

It is crucial to take the steps necessary to remain safe when crossing railroad tracks in New Mexico. Unfortunately, accidents involving trains and vehicles often result in devastating injuries and be worse than most typical car accidents in Albuquerque. Any person inside of a vehicle is unlikely to survive the incident. These safety tips can help keep you and your passengers safe. Even if you see other drivers crossing a track unsafely, do not follow their lead. You need to be safe no matter what.