How to Prevent Accidents at Railway Crossings

We all want to be safe drivers. We take our car to the auto mechanic regularly to ensure that it stays in good enough condition to protect us while we drive, we don’t drink and drive, we rest frequently and we make sure our tyres are full of air. The thing is, though, that as conscientious as we try to be, occasionally we run into unusual road conditions or signage we’re not used to, and then it doesn’t matter how many precautions we’ve taken, the rest is really down to our ability to react. Because they’re increasingly rare in our cities, railway crossings often create an unfamiliar road situation, and a lot of unnecessary accidents occur here because of this. The best way to deal with railway crossings is to be aware that they could crop up without much warning on a long country road, and to know how to react if and when you come across one.1. Be AwareJust because you’re on a fairly deserted road, doesn’t mean you can ever slip into autopilot. There are things to be aware of that you wouldn’t have to worry about driving in the city, such as animals, unforeseen road conditions and, as mentioned, railway crossings. A small sign and a flashing signal will usually be all the warning you get, so make sure your eyes stay open for indicators–you don’t want to ignore it and find yourself in the path of a very fast-approaching train.2. Give Plenty of WarningIf you see a railway crossing up ahead or know that there will be one shortly, make sure you give the car behind you plenty of notice and come to a smooth, gradual stop–not only will this prevent a rear-end collision,. but it will negate the possibility of you being pushed forward onto the tracks.3. Stop 5 Metres BackIn the event that you can see the train approaching, make sure you stop about 5 metres before the actual tracks. This way, and dirt, stones or other debris that is kicked up by the train’s wheels will hopefully miss your car and windscreen!4. Keep It SteadyDrive carefully and steadily when the time comes to cross the tracks, and avoid changing gears as you go–this lessens the chances of your car stalling in the middle of the tracks and becoming train-bait.If you’ve never come across a railway crossing before, keep these tips in your head for when the time comes that you do, and in the mean time keep your car in excellent condition with regular car services and tune-ups. The vehicle you’re driving has a lot to do with keeping you safe, but at the end of the day the biggest variable in this is you, the decisions you make and the way you react to different, and sometimes unfamiliar situations. Be prepared.