Look, listen and live

An old admonishment is still a good one for railroad safety

Cars, trucks and trains are all vital parts of the American transportation system, and the roads and tracks that carry them intersect at lots of places.

Those intersections, called grade crossings, require caution on the part of people driving cars and trucks.

The undeniable fact is that a train is much bigger and heavier than even the largest truck. The average train weighs 12 million pounds, according to the grade crossing safety program called Operation Life Saver. Meanwhile, the average car weighs 3,000 pounds.

That’s a 4,000-to-one weight differential, and the train has the advantage.

Recall what happens when a car or small truck hits a soda can. What happened to that can is what’s going to happen to a car that gets hit by a train.

If you are involved in a collision with a train, you are 20 times more likely to die than if you were involved in a collision with another motor vehicle simply because of the weight difference, according to Operation Life Saver.

Because of their weight, trains can’t stop quickly if there’s a vehicle or person on the tracks. Depending on how fast it’s going, it can take a mile for a train to stop.

Therefore, it’s up to drivers and pedestrians to exercise extreme caution when crossing the tracks.

Avoiding disaster at the grade crossings is easy, however, and Operation Life Saver offers some simple safety rules.

The first is “Look, Listen and Live.”

What that means is anyone approaching a grade crossing should look for a train and listen for a train and the bells at the grade crossing. Doing so will help them to live.

Pedestrians should only cross the tracks at a grade crossing. Doing so anywhere else is not only dangerous, but illegal.

Operation Life Saver offers this advice to pedestrians near railroad tracks: “Stay Off, Stay Away, Stay Alive.”

We urge everyone to follow these simple mantras: “Look, Listen and Live” and “Stay Off, Stay Away, Stay Alive.”

Doing so will keep everyone safe.