At the 2017 Australasian Road Safety Conference in Perth, Australia, a researcher from Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland presented his research on driver caution levels when approaching and crossing railways, compared with their caution levels with road intersections. He identified a few reasons for this lack of caution compared to driving toward and through road intersections. This includes drivers being unable to recognize level crossings until they are too close and lack knowledge on how to handle them.
What Drivers Do at Railway Crossings
Throughout the study, the researchers found that motorists prepared to stop 75 meters, or just under 250 feet, from road intersections. As drivers approached railway crossings, they did not begin to brake until they were about 30 meters, or just under 100 feet, from the crossings. Drivers also spent far less time assessing railway crossings than they did road intersections, nor did they adapt their driving to the lowered visibility when approaching and crossing railways at night. Drivers tended to approach railway crossings at faster speeds than they used when approaching road intersections.
What Drivers Should Do at Railway Crossings
Taking less time to assess a level crossing can force drivers to make snap decisions, which can lead to a collision. Trains can approach much faster than cars, giving drivers little or no time to react when a train is arriving. Trains are also much larger and heavier than cars, which puts motorists and their passengers at a greater risk of being injured in a train collision than the train’s staff and passengers. Drivers should always approach railway crossings slowly and with caution. Just as a driver would not speed through an intersection, they should never speed over a train track. Drivers should pay close attention to railroad crossing signs, and listen for approaching train whistles to help alert drivers to make safe choices.
Preventing Pedestrian Knock Downs
Drivers must also be careful to avoid collisions with pedestrians when approaching and crossing railways. Drivers should take extra caution when driving past train stations, especially at night, when pedestrians can be difficult to see. Knowing the train schedule can be very helpful for motorists to know when to exercise extra vigilance when passing train stops and crossings.
Camden County Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Injured Car Accident Victims
In New Jersey, many of our roadways intersect railways, and collisions with trains and other drivers who do not know what do to can result in serious injuries. If you have been injured in a collision in New Jersey, fill out our online form or call us at 856-414-0010 to set up your initial consultation with an experienced Camden County car accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law. Our office is in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we serve clients from South Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.