You're harvesting corn. While your son runs the combine you're taking the semi load to town. You've got a million things on your mind. Will the yield cover expenses? Will there be any profit left? Should you start someone chiseling behind you? The questions go on and on. The last thing you're probably thinking about is an encounter with a train- especially if you've taken for granted that there are hardly ever trains on tracks on your routes. It's not worth taking for granted- if there is an encounter, you will lose!
Operation Lifesaver, based in Alexandria, Virginia, publishes tips and various pieces of information to help remind rural residents about the dangers of crossing rural tracks where there are no flashing lights or buck arms.
Here are some tips not covered previously.
One. Always expect a train- Instead of assuming there won't be a train coming as you approach the tracks, assume there will be one. It will put you in an entirely different frame of mind. Then if there isn't, proceed safely across the tracks.
Two. Beware the second train! – On busier tracks near large grain handling facilities and other entities, where the crossing has two tracks, just because one train passes doesn't mean you're OK to go. If the flashing lights start up again, or stay going, and the cross arms come down, it may not be a malfunction. It may be that a train is approaching from the opposite direction. It's been known to happen!
Three. Leave stalled cars- If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, get everyone with you out and away from he tracks immediately. Do it even if you don't see a train coming. Notify local law enforcement. There should be an emergency notification number posted on or near the crossing. If you find it call that number as well.
Four. If you see a train, wait! Playing chicken is for dummies. Some of them wind up dead. It's too easy to misjudge the distance and speed of an approaching train. You won't get a second chance.
Five. Trains can't stop quickly- The average freight train traveling 55 miles per hour takes a mile or more to stop! That's 18 football fields laid end to end. If the engineer aboard the train can see you, it's too late for him to stop the train in time.
Six. Watch for vehicles that must stop at crossings- Indiana law requires school bus drivers to stop and open their door at railroad crossings. Commercial buses and trucks carrying hazardous materials must stop as well. If you're following one of these vehicles, be aware that it will make a complete stop before reaching the tracks.