Are more people trying to beat trains at crossings?

All of a sudden, I’m hearing constant PSA’s on prime spots on radio warning against trying to cross tracks when a train is approaching. Why? Do people really need to be told this, and have accidents of this type become more frequent?

This Article Says “Yes”

General overall driving idiocy seems to be on the rise.

General overall idiocy of all kinds seems to be on the rise.

I wonder why US train crossings have a single bar that one can drive around, and Europeans have two bars to prevent such an action.

Weeds out the idiots.

I would agree that dangerously impatient driving is vastly increased.

Probably cost-related.

In a lot of these reported cases the driver “got stuck on the tracks”. Uh-huh. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I think it may have been a problem ever since roads intersected with railroad tracks. There is a whole gallery of railroad-related public safety posters from the early 1900s at the Transportation Museum in Roanoke.

Right, and we were taught in very early elementary school to not cross tracks when a train was approaching, whether walking or biking, and driving when we were old enough. I remember hearing the same fact that a train could take over a mile to stop, and that it’s not like a car that can stop quickly.

But I don’t remember any widespread PSA campaign largely geared toward adults who are driving.

Some rural crossings [in the USA, anyway] don’t have any bars; just signs announcing that there’s a crossing. You’re supposed to “stop, look, and listen”.

Since COVID and all people stuck at home, now they are VERY impatient. I drive to Denver about 4 times a month to help my mom out. Last Sunday, leaving Denver at 7am, some fool passed me on a quiet residential street. I was going the speed limit, no lane markings or anything. And this moron passes me on the left and doesn’t even have time to get back over to the right lane. He passed me in the middle of a block and made an immediate left turn.

I’ll forgive these idiots if they are going to the hospital or their house is on fire.

delete…sorry, a bit off topic.

I had something like this happen to me. Guy was so impatient that he passed me (on the left) about 500 yds short of a stop sign, on a country highway. He went around me so fast and aggressively he almost went entirely into the ditch on the left side of the road. I was a little stunned…and was thinking “Really? Was it worth it to almost roll your car / raise your insurance rates / injure yourself? Just to save a few seconds?”

I think they (and RR crossing daredevils) need to remember what Bill Murray said in Groundhog Day: “Don’t drive angry!”

As opposed to, “Drive like hell”.

That part is sometimes enforced by the degree of the bump.

There is, in fact, such a campaign: Operation Lifesaver. I’ve heard radio PSAs from them, and back when I took a commuter train every day (pre-COVID), I’d see an Operation Lifesaver booth at my train station once or twice a year, but I do suspect that their campaign suffers from an overall lack of visibility.

Note that, per @kenobi_65’s link, Rail Safety Week in the U.S., Canada and Mexico is next week: September 20-26. If by “all of a sudden”, you mean in the last couple of weeks, it’s quite likely because that.

When I was taking driver’s ed, my instructor made us do that at literally every crossing. There were some old tracks in the small town where my high school was located that were clearly abandoned; besides the old rusty rails and weeds, you could see that the tracks had been removed just beyond the crossing. He even made us stop, look, and listen at that crossing. As teenagers, my friends and I all thought it was silly that he made us do that when the tracks were so obviously abandoned. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize he was trying to teach us to never just assume tracks are out of service. When you see tracks, think train, as they say.

Case in point, in the town where I live now there’s a set of tracks that were out of service for a long time, but now there’s an organization that occasionally uses them for scenic train rides. But most drivers still just cross the tracks without slowing down, being so accustomed to them being unused, and probably unaware that they are occasionally being used again. I’m not aware of any accidents that have occurred because of that, but I can see how there could be.

There are a lot of train tracks in Seattle that are long out of service (esp. on the East Side), and people know it and routinely cross without looking. Well and good for those particular tracks, I guess, but IMHO leaving the defunct tracks in place eventually trains* people to be incautious about all train tracks everywhere. When I moved away, I had to re-learn how to look sharp.


In some areas, you have miles of visibility to see a train approaching.

In others, there is a tree line along the tracks. Up near where my grandparents lived there was one particular crossing, with a 55 mph county road intersecting a tree lined rail line that my grandfather would always warn us or our cousins about when we were visiting.