One of these days I have to attend an Operation Lifesaver session to see the issues that are
covered. I've seen brief informal presentations, but I like to know what is taught in an
actual training session.
There are many reasons why people go through flashing railroad signals. This often results in
the injury or death of everyone in the vehicle. For the moment, lets ignore the inatentive
driver and concentrate on those drives who are totally aware of the signals and yet
intentionally go through them.
Let's start with the rule that says you should never cross the tracks when the railroad
crossing signals are flashing. There are some people that from time to time that have thought
they have found an exception to this rule. Many of those people have died as they drove
over the tracks. What kind of exception did these people think they found?
- A train has stopped short of the crossing. You assume it is safe to go through and you
keep your eye on the train watching to see if it starts moving again. Unfortunately, you
get hit and killed by a train coming at full speed the other way on the second track. Or,
maybe by a train going the same way on a second track overtaking the stopped train. Many
drivers and pedestrains have been killed in this scenerio not realizing that a second train
was involved with the crossing signals.
If you are one of those people who believes in exceptions to the rule, the next time you are
stopped at a crossing where it seems safe to cross even though the lights are flashing, don't
ask yourself if this might be one of those exceptions. Instead, you should tell yourself:
"I am going to die if I go through this flashing signal. What am I not seeing about the
danger of this situation?" Make this a test of your defensive driving knowledge and quiz
yourself about what you are missing about the situation.
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