This week is Illinois Rail Safety Week. When crossing railroad tracks, you must always follow the law and be aware of your surroundings!
To promote rail safety awareness and education, the Hinsdale Police Department will be participating in Illinois Rail Safety Week. Enforcement details are planned throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings and commuter stations within Hinsdale to cite both drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property.
According to Operation Lifesaver, there are several factors that contribute to the occurrence of a train versus motor vehicle/pedestrian collision:
- A motorist/pedestrian will see a train coming, but grossly misjudge the actual speed and distance of the train.
- A motorist will try and beat a train to the crossing and either gets struck by the train or runs into the side of the train.
- As a train clears a crossing, the motorist/pedestrian immediately starts across the tracks without looking for other trains and either strikes or is struck by a train running on an adjacent track.
- A motorist becomes “too familiar” with a crossing and uses no caution whatsoever when coming to the crossing.
- The motorist fails to observe and obey the advance railroad warning sign and other crossing warning signs and signals.
- A motorist is intoxicated and cannot properly operate a motor vehicle.
- A motorist overdrives his/her headlights at night or fails to properly adapt his/her driving speed to the prevailing weather conditions and thus drives into the side of the train.
- A motorist/pedestrian becomes distracted by things such as cellular telephones, loud music, passengers, GPS systems, texting devices, etc. and becomes oblivious to his/her surroundings.
Be mindful of the following tips to be safe when near railroad tracks:
- It is illegal, and considered trespassing, to walk on railroad tracks and in the right of way on either side of the tracks, or to climb on rail cars.
- Trains overhang the tracks by 3 feet on each side and sometimes up to five feet on each side.
- It is only safe and legal to cross the tracks at a designated public crossing with a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. Crossing at any other place is trespassing.
- Locomotives are sometimes not at the front of a train; instead, a locomotive may be pushing the train.
- Do not cross the tracks until you can see clearly in each direction after the first train passes, there may be a second train approaching.
- You must wait until the crossing signals stop and gates go up to legally cross the tracks.
- You may not hear a train approaching or you may believe the train is farther away than it actually is when in fact it is closer than you realize and moving faster than you think.
- You must use extra caution when crossing tracks with a wheelchair, baby stroller, or with any other item that has narrow wheels. Always cross the tracks at a ninety degree angle and consider walking across the tracks if possible.