Racing rail cars is a dangerous game

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It’s a common scenario, you’re already late for work and traffic just seems to be adding minutes to that delay.

You get close to a railroad crossing just as the red lights flash and the gates start to fall.  Instead of stopping and waiting for the train to pass, you stomp the gas pedal and barely make it through the crossing.

Your heart is beating from the adrenaline and as a result you give little thought to what would have happened had you not made it across the tracks in time.

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It doesn’t happen every day, but when these two mismatched vehicles collide, many times the impact can be fatal.

While accidents from this act of haste are not always fatal, it’s one of those times where it’s best just to wait for the train to pass.

An example occurred over the weekend. A Gulf Coast news station reported that a car was hit by a train on White Avenue in Biloxi.  While details are scant and no injuries were reported, it can be assumed that the car was in the path of the train due to an attempt to beat the gates.

Another accident in March led to the death of four people. It involved a tour bus that became lodged on the tracks because the incline was too steep. This is a slightly different scenario, but does shed light on the need to safely navigate railroad crossings in every way, especially when operating a large vehicle.

In this situation, signs at the crossing advising drivers of large vehicles to avoid the crossing were ignored.

The point is that safety devices are put in place at railroad crossings for a reason.

Here in Picayune there are several points where the railroad crosses public streets, especially along Highway 11. And at times these trains can cause delays when loading and unloading people and cargo.

So while it might be tempting to race a train to save a few minutes of your day, keep in mind that should the worst happen, a few missing minutes will be the least of your worries.