accidents at railroad crossings

Hazards Drivers Face at Railroad Crossings

Railroad crossings are dangerous for drivers, pedestrians, and bikers alike. While most municipalities put substantial time into ensuring that railroad crossings are safe, well-lit, and well-maintained, there are many crossings that are incredibly hazardous. Overgrown vegetation, defunct alarms, and a casual attitude toward railroad safety are all significant dangers for travelers.

Learn more about the dangers you face at railroad crossings and how to protect yourself. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a train accident, our team is here to help. Call Nowell Law Firm at 864-469-2481 to discuss your options now.

Defective Lighting, Sounds, or Gates

This is perhaps one of the most common triggers of railroad accidents. When you learn to drive, you learn to watch for flashing red lights, the bar dropping to signal the arrival of a train, and loud alarms to warn people to keep back.

Just like anything else on the road, these safety alerts must be maintained. In some areas, these tasks fall to the bottom of the to-do list year after year, leaving residents and visitors stuck with malfunctioning railroad alert systems. By the time someone notices that the alarm isn’t working and that there is a train approaching, it may be too late for them to get across safely.

Decreased Visibility at Railroad Crossings

There are numerous things that can block a driver’s visibility at a railroad crossing. Ideally, a driver pulled up to the white line will be able to see a long stretch of the railroad in both directions before crossing it. Overgrown bushes, untrimmed trees, and flowering weeds can all block a driver’s view, making them heavily reliant on warning sounds and lights that may or may not be working. Part of maintaining a railroad is cutting down vegetation and other growth that can make the railroad more dangerous for travelers.

Interrupted Sight Lines

All railroad crossings should be designed in such a way that drivers can clearly see whether or not there is an oncoming train, but that doesn’t mean that all railroad crossings are designed in that way. This is a particularly common problem in urban areas, where limited space may force the construction of less-than-ideal railroad crossings. When a driver’s sight is blocked by buildings and other obstructions, it is difficult for them to know when they can cross safely.

Unsafely Parked Trains

Trains should be parked in stations, terminals, or depots when they are not actively traveling. This keeps them out of travelers’ sight and keeps the railway clear for oncoming trains. When trains are routinely parked on the railway when they are not in use, drivers get used to seeing the train there every day. When that suddenly changes and there is a moving train approaching, they may react too slowly to cross the railroad safely.

Lax Attitude Toward Safety Rules

Unfortunately, a relaxed or complacent attitude toward railroad safety is an issue in many parts of the United States. If you go to any busy railroad, you’ll see people ducking under the safety gates to beat a train or see cars zooming through a railroad crossing as the safety arms drop. People simply do not think that the worst can happen to them, and when it does, it puts everyone else in the area in danger. Many cities have enacted public education programs to help people stay safe around trains and railroad crossings, but it remains to be seen what will actually make people change their unsafe behavior.

What to Do After a Train Accident

Train accidents often cause severe or fatal injuries, as well as untold amounts of property damage. That’s why it’s crucial to connect with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your collision. Depending on what caused the crash and who was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

Choose Nowell Law Firm for Your Personal Injury Claim

The more quickly you contact our firm for help with your train accident claim, the sooner we can begin working on your personal injury case. Set up a consultation with Nowell Law Firm now by calling us at 864-469-2481 or reaching out to our team online via our online contact form

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