Tips for for driving when crossing the railroad

[Wanderlust Tips January issue 2018] The first thing you always need to keep in mind is to give right of way to the train, do not try to cross the railway when you see the train even if you think you have enough time.

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There have been many tragic accidents involving railroads, in which many cars have been crushed to scrap iron. The train is a special means of transportation; it not only operates on the main roads but also has an extremely large stopping distance. Therefore, the train cannot be stopped immediately when obstacles are detected. On average, the distance from the time when the train driver hits the emergency brake to a total stop can be nearly 1 kilometre, depending on the speed of the train. In cases where detected obstacles are too close, the train driver will not be able to hit the emergency brake as it may cause the train to overturn or derail, which could affect hundreds of passengers on board.

Therefore, driving across the railway where there are no safety barriers always carries underlying risks, which may result in extremely serious consequences far beyond a normal accident. Many experienced drivers still make mistakes, so it is essential to acquire the knowledge and skills to drive safely across the railroad.

The first thing you have to keep in mind is to always give right of way to the train, you cannot and absolutely should not try to cross the railway, even if the train is still in a far distance. It could lead to tragic outcomes and could even be the last time you drive. Always remember to give way to the train.

Wanderlust Tips has made a list of driving mistakes as well as the tips to to handle situations that may occur when driving across the railroad, with the expectation that you will always have safe journeys.

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1. With stick shift cars, many people don’t bother to shift to a lower gear, resulting in the engine of the car dying while going over the tracks. At this point, drivers will easily be discomposed, and then change to the wrong gear or control the car clutch unreasonably so the car cannot cross the railway. Therefore, if you drive a manual car, you should shift to a lower gear when crossing the railway so the car can have enough traction as most railways are built on a slope.

2. How to handle the possibility of the car breaking down while crossing the railway: If you get stuck on the railway and try to restart the ignition of the car several times but still fail to cross the railroad, it is recommended to quickly get out of the car and help all passengers leave the car. If there is not any train coming, immediately report to the railway company, railroad staff, or the police so they can directly contact the train driver directly. In case there is a train approaching, do not try to save your luggage or any belongings when getting out of the car; try to run as far away from the track as possible. If the train is too close, you should run in the opposite direction to the approaching train because if you run in the same direction, the fragments of the car, from the impact of the train, may cause you injuries.

3. Do not try to cross the railroad when a train is approaching even if you think you have enoughtime to cross it. Many unexpected situations may occur when you try to cross the railway such as the car breaking down or being trapped on the railway, or wrong time calculation. When crossing the railway, always keep perpendicular to the direction of the railroad.

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4. Do not cross the railway if the gap in the other side of the railroad is not large enough for your vehicle, even if you do not see any train approaching. In some cases, accidents were reported to happen because the car got stuck in a traffic jam and stopped on the railroad; the driver helplessly watched the train crashing into his car. Therefore, when the gap from railroad safety barriers to any obstacle is not big enough for your car, be patient to see if there is any traffic jam or obstacles on the other side of the railroad. Do not lose your patience if the cars behind honk to urge you.

5. Last but not least, always look both ways before crossing, and especially pay attention to the hidden corners by bush or houses. In addition, the lack of awareness seems to have been ingrained into the subconscious of many people when driving; it not only leads them to death but also causes injuries to others. In many cases, cars and motorbikes are hit by trains just because of the drivers’ disregard for life when crossing the railroad.

6. Five required steps to cross a railroad: Firstly, you need to slow down when approaching the railroad crossing. Then stop the car more than 5 metres away from the track if the vision is obscured on both sides of the railroad. Thirdly, take a close look in both directions, and it is recommended to get out of the car and look carefully if necessary. When the railroad signal lights are on, do not try to cross even if you do not see any train; you can also try to listen for the sound of the arriving train. Only passing through after looking carefully to ensure that everything is safe. Fourthly, when crossing the track, shift to a lower gear if you drive a manual car. Finally, drive carefully without any hesitation.

Tran Giap | Wanderlust Tips

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