MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

January 24, 2014

Don’t take risks at rail crossings

You’re in a hurry to get where you are going.

But if you try to beat a train at a railroad crossing, you may not arrive at all.

When it’s car versus train, the car always loses. All too often the car’s occupants lose their lives.

Motorists waiting on trains at railroad crossings near downtown Muskogee last week were reminded to use caution when approaching the tracks. The program was presented by Union Pacific Railroad, Operation Lifesaver and the Muskogee Police Department.

“Every three hours in the United States, a vehicle or pedestrian has been struck by a train,” said Donnie Howdeshell, an Operation Lifesaver presenter and employee of Union Pacific.

Way too many of us gamble that we can beat the train to get where we are going a little bit sooner. When we do, we are gambling with our lives.

Don’t bet your life. It isn’t worth it. Trains travel on fixed tracks. They can’t swerve to avoid you. Trains are massive and can take more than a mile to brake to a halt. Motorists and pedestrians, wait to cross.

It’s hard to stop a train.

Statistics

• In 2012, there were 1,967 highway-rail grade crossing collisions in the United States. Sixty-one of the collisions were in Oklahoma.

• In 2012, there were 434 pedestrian rail trespass fatalities, 11 of which were in Oklahoma.

Source: Federal Railroad

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