Railroad crossing safety information

Tuesday’s deadly train accident near Valhalla, N.Y., highlights the need to disseminate some railroad crossing safety information.

If your car gets stuck on the train tracks, get yourself and all other passengers out of the car and run at about a 45-degree angle towards the train and away from the tracks. As the train hits your vehicle, you’ll want to avoid the debris which will fly in the direction the train is going. When you’re far enough away, call 911 immediately.

Here are some additional railroad safety tips:

• Before crossing tracks, always assume there is a train coming. Trains can travel at speeds up to 80 mph, coming a lot faster than you may believe so. Never try to beat the train to the crossing.

• Never drive around lowered gates. It is not permitted to drive any vehicle (including motorcycles, bicycles, or scooters) past the gates when they are down and the red lights are flashing.

• When in traffic, be careful not to get stuck in the middle of the tracks in grid-lock. Wait until it’s clear on the other side, before crossing the tracks.

• If you get stuck on the tracks, never assume the train can stop in time. Even at 50 mph, it takes a mile to stop a train. Get everyone out of the car, run toward the train at a 45-degree angle away from the tracks and call 9-1-1.

• Don’t assume your car engine will re-start if you stall. However irrational as it may seem, experience shows that people under pressure can suddenly fail to perform the simplest tasks, such as starting a car. Get out and run.

• Don’t linger to gather your belongings. Forget about your personal belongings or the stuff in the trunk or on the back seat. Get out and run.

• Always assume that a train is coming. Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

For additional safety tips and resources about rail safety education, please visit Operation Life Saver  at oli.org.