A handful of recent incidents in which either a pedestrian or a vehicle was hit by a moving train has led Minnesota’s Transportation Department to warn citizens to always use caution when in the vicinity of the tracks. Fatality numbers are already higher than they were last year. 14 people throughout the state died in 2012, which is up from 11 in 2011. Those fatalities include both people in vehicles and people on foot. The DOT provides a number of safety tips that are useful for anyone in the country, even if they’re not Minnesotans.
Pedestrians and drivers of motor vehicles alike need to obey crossing signals at all times. You might think you can make it past the gate before the train gets there, but this way of thinking is what leads to tragedy. Once the gates do go back up, people should utilize caution and look both ways to ensure that another train isn’t going to come barreling down the tracks.
Should a situation ever occur where your vehicle gets stuck on the tracks, you should exit the vehicle at once. Dial 911 and inform the authorities of the threat. If a train is incoming, get away from the accident, but do so by moving at a 45 degree angle against the incoming train so as to remove yourself from the path of debris.
Finally, pedestrians should understand the illegality of walking on the tracks. A train could come at any time, and not walking on the tracks is a surefire way to save lives.