A couple of weeks ago I saw a young man in his vehicle hurry to beat the train that crosses 18th Street North at 12th Avenue North. The train wasn’t moving too quickly, but it still was plenty dangerous for the young man to cross when he did. There are no crossing arms at that train crossing and it is a fairly rare occurrence to see trains crossing there, but it happens on occasion. If a collision had occurred at that location at that time (in the 9 AM hour), not only would he have been severely injured or killed, but he would have also likely caused damage via flying car parts to nearby cars and property, and injury to nearby drivers and pedestrians.
After the incident, I made a point of reiterating to my students the importance of using caution at train crossings. I worry that it only takes one foolish mistake with a train to end a life. Let’s face it – in these types of collisions the train always wins.
Today a man died in a truck-train collision in West Fargo. It is unclear at this juncture whether the vehicle was intentionally parked on the tracks or whether it was an accident. Initial reports say the crossing arms were working. This incident, like the incident from a couple of weeks ago, causes me to reiterate one of the most basic safety messages there is for communities with railways running through them: EXERCISE CAUTION AT TRAIN CROSSINGS!
It is never worth taking the risk when it comes to trying to beat the train. That is an “all-in” bet that is not worth the few minutes that taking the risk will save you. There is a reason that train crossings are marked and that there are often physical crossing arms blocking passage at train crossings – they are inherently dangerous and folks can be foolish.
Don’t try and make better time by trying to cross the tracks when a train is coming – the odds are stacked against you and too often such gambling markers are called in by speeding tons of steel that aren’t content just to break your kneecaps. Be safe out there folks and remember what I said – the train always wins.
Day one thousand four hundred and six of the new forty – obla di obla da