SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two crashes between cars and trains in the Ozarks are bringing a reminder about railroad safety.
Investigators said both crashes, one in Greene County and another in Webster County, were caused by vehicles stopped on the tracks.
Authorities said the best prevention is to obey the law and yield to trains.
“Even though you can see the train coming, you are playing Russian roulette with megatons of 40 to 50 mile an hour machinery that’s not going to stop very quickly and be able to cushion the blow that it is going to make when it makes contact with your vehicle trying to cross it and beat the train,” said Sergeant Mike McClure.
Investigators believe the woman who was driving in Greene County started to cross the tracks. When the train came, and the gates began to lower, it’s believed she panicked and stopped seconds before the train hit. She survived with serious injuries.
It’s the kind of situation that results in crashes across the country every year. Drivers hit by trains after believing there’s no way out once they’re caught between the gates.
There is no need to stop; you can keep going even if you are blocked in. The gates look like a solid barrier, but they are lightweight and designed to flex or break free if a car gets caught.
Your care will likely get damaged, but not destroyed.
“Don’t panic,” said McClure. “The gate on top of your car is going to do minimal damage as opposed to you putting it in reverse and going into that 18 to 20-foot threshold area where the train is going to take up that space once it passed.”
If you get caught and have to break through the gate, authorities ask you to call the emergency number listed at the crossing so the railroad can fix it.