Railways are an important part of the American infrastructure, and are critical for the transportation of products, people, and goods throughout the country. However, railways can also be very dangerous, and in Alabama, dozens of people suffer serious or fatal injuries every year as a result of an accident at a railroad crossing. In Alabama, the accidents are so common that the state ranks as one of the worst in the nation for number of railroad crossing incidents, and in 2015, there were a whopping 90 railroad crossing accidents reported in Alabama alone (and a total of 2,059 recorded in the United States).
Knowing the risks of railroad crossings and exercising caution around tracks is critical. Consider these tips for staying safe and avoiding railroad crossing collisions, and what to do if a crash does occur.
Tips for Avoiding a Railroad Crossing Accident
Whether on a bike, motorcycle, as a pedestrian, or while driving a motor vehicle, exercising caution around railroad crossings is critical to safety. Some tips to follow include:
● Never walk on railroad tracks. Not only is trespassing illegal, but trains do not follow set schedules, and a train could appear at any time on any track. Walking on the track just means putting yourself directly in harm’s way.
● ALWAYS heed the cautions of warning signals, signs, and crossing arms. One of the biggest mistakes that drivers, pedestrians, and bikers make is failing to pay attention to warnings that signify that a train is approaching. At most crossing areas, automatic arms, flashing lights, and signs warn of an oncoming train. If lights are flashing or crossing arms are descending, STOP and wait for the train before proceeding.
● Don’t try to beat the train. A fatal mistake is trying to beat a train, which is an error that many make when they’re in a rush or feel like getting an adrenaline rush. If a train is approaching, never attempt to cross in front of it. Waiting is always the smart thing to do.
● Look and listen before crossing. Even if warning lights are not flashing and crossing arms are stationary in an upright position, do not assume that it is safe to cross. It is possible for signals and warning signs to be defective; a lack of flashing lights does not mean that a train is not approaching. Always look in both directions, and listen closely, before crossing tracks.
Who Is Liable if a Railroad Crossing Accident Happens?
The fact is that even if you are acting as safely as you can around a train, a railroad crossing accident may happen because of the negligence of another party. For example, municipalities and railroad companies are typically responsible for maintaining crossing warnings, such as lights and crossing arms and if these mechanisms are not maintained, they may not work properly, putting drivers and pedestrians at risk. A railroad crossing accident may also be caused due to defective or broken tracks, a train defect, or the negligence of a train operator, such as driving while distracted or intoxicated. A railroad crossing accident could even occur when a negligent driver rear-ends a stopped, responsible driver, pushing their vehicle onto the tracks and into the path of an oncoming train.
When a railroad crossing accident occurs, getting to the bottom of who is to blame is essential for filing a claim and recovering financial compensation for losses. At the law offices of Zach Alsobrook we can investigate the cause of your accident, work with accident reconstruction experts, and bring forth a claim against the liable party.
Contact Our Law Offices after a Railroad Crossing Accident
Our experienced Alabama railway crossing accident attorney Zach Alsobrook hope that you take the above safety tips seriously and never are involved in a railroad crossing collision. However, sometimes all the precaution in the world doesn’t protect you from being a victim. If you are involved in a railroad crossing accident in Alabama, our team will be here to advocate for you. Call us today at (334) 737-3718 or use the contact form on our website to send us a