The impact can be 'devastating': Train, car collisions dangerous but preventable

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the state's rail system consists of over 5,000 route miles that run through most of its 159 counties/Barmel Lyons (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- The US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration teamed up in 2017 to raise awareness through the “Stop! Trains Can’t” campaign, aiming to educate Americans on railway safety.

Libby Snipe, spokesperson for Operation Lifesaver, Inc. said that railway safety and precaution could mean the difference between life and death. "Any time you are approaching a railway crossing, you should assume a train is coming at anytime," she said.

The reality, Snipe said, is that a train hitting a car is just like a car running over a soda can. “Given the weight ratio between a freight train and a vehicle the impact is, the potential is there for the impact to be quite devastating," she said.

There are different types of signs and warning devices at crossings. Some crossings will have gates that come down to prevent drivers from getting near the tracks when a train is crossing, while others have sings like emergency notification system signs. Snipe said that these serve the most benefit in a dangerous situation.

"If a motorist is stuck on a track, or if there is another issue and they need to quickly alert the railroad, there is a phone number and a crossing identification number that they can give to the railroad immediately," she said.

Snipe added that train and car collisions happen too often, and is easily preventable. "Another important thing for people to know is that it takes a freight train a mile or more for it to come to a complete stop. So if an engineer sees a car stuck on the tracks, or a person, even if they engage the emergency break - it could still take a mile or more to stop."

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