In yesterday’s blog post, we discussed a recent Coaster train accident in Del Mar that tragically claimed the life of a pedestrian. Recently, another train accident made San Diego headlines, this time for colliding with a vehicle.

According to San Diego CW 6 (3/16/2015), the train accident occurred when a southbound Amtrak train struck a vehicle on the tracks between the cities of Oceanside and Carlsbad. The collision seriously injured the driver of the vehicle according to officials, requiring the individual to be airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.

The collision occurred near the tracks at Cassidy Street in Oceanside. Police urged the public to clear the area so investigators and medical personnel could access the scene of the accident.

Investigators are researching the cause of the accident and why the vehicle was unable to move before the train hit it.

MORE ON TRAIN SAFETY: DRIVING ON AND NEAR TRACKS

In our previous blog post, we urged pedestrians to avoid train tracks and to be train smart. As drivers, we need to use the same precautions. Trains can be dangerous for multiple reasons – and we need to be fully aware of their potential. After all, cars are no match for the powerful train.

Always remember:

TRAINS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY

Did you know that as a driver you need to give the train the right of way? It’s also common sense. Trains are huge machines that weigh tons of pounds – literally. It takes real time and effort to stop a train, but it takes just seconds to stop a car. Make sure you respect the power of a moving train and always give way to the train at intersections. Also, remember: trains can’t swerve out of the way to avoid hitting you. You, however, can swerve out of the way – so, be mindful of the differences between car and train.

DON’T IGNORE FLASHING LIGHTS

If you’re at a railroad crossing, those lights are indeed meaningful. If you see they are flashing, get out of the way as soon as possible. Pull onto the curb or shoulder if you have to in order to get out of the way. Remember, a train won’t have the time to stop to avoid hitting you.

BE MINDFUL OF A TRAIN’S SCHEDULE

If you think a train has passed and the coast is clear, think again. Trains can travel in both directions on the track. If you’ve ever played with a toy train set, you know you can change the direction of the train with one simple lever. In addition, you can change the path of the train by simply manipulating the direction of the tracks. Be mindful of the train’s schedule and remember: It’s always train time!

DON’T TRY TO BEAT A CLOSING GATE

Haven’t we all seen someone race through a closing train gate at one time or another? It’s simply a bad idea and the gates could trap you inside the tracks. It takes just a few moments for the train to pass. Be patient and just wait it out the old fashioned way: simply wait for your green light, then go.

THE FUTURE OF TRAIN TECHNOLOGY

We certainly live in the digital age, so it may come as no surprise to learn that trains are catching up when it comes to using technology in the name of safety. In a recent article at CNN (2/25/2015), officials say that train technology could possibly prevent future injuries and deaths in the event of a collision thanks to a new technology called “collision energy management technology” which minimizes the dispersion of energy upon collision. This is good news for those aboard the train, but for drivers, the risk remains the same. Currently, there are no additional technologies for drivers to avoid train accidents – and that’s why common sense and prudence is so very important!

ABOUT MICHAEL PINES

Michael Pines is a nationally-recognized safety advocate, specializing in personal injury law and representation. He is the founder of the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC, a car accident law firm located in San Diego, California. Schedule your FREE consultation with Mike right now by calling 1-858-551-2090.

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