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Rail Danger
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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?

    Wrongful Assumptions:
  • 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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