Drivers caught dodging train, officials stress safety

Drivers evade train. / Jessica Fairley

Throughout the year, news is released of people dying in train accidents. Some are hit while inside a car and others are struck while walking along the tracks, but it's a situation that officials say can be prevented.

FOX 31 news cameras caught drivers taking a risk by parking on the tracks. Those cars were able to get out of the way before the train came but not all cases end up in that way.

"Trains simply can't slow and stop like a vehicle can and they can't swerve at all," said Albany Safe Communities Coordinator, Michelle Strickland, "So in the event between a car and a train, unfortunately the vehicle is going to lose."

Signs alongside the rails clearly state "Do not stop on the tracks"; however, both cars and trucks were seen straddling the rails while waiting for a light to change. Officials with the Lee County Fire Department said the tracks belong to the railroad and it's against the law for drivers be that close. He said it's time for drivers to change their habits and take heed.

"One thing's for sure, if there's an accident, it's not the trains fault because it's not like a car wreck, you know where the train is going to be," said Lee County Assistant Fire Chief, Paul Branch.

Branch said to stay safe, drivers should look both ways when approaching the tracks and if they hear the train stay back and get out of the way. One of the worst things a person can do is ignore the stop bars and try to beat the train.

Officials said people should also take into consideration that it's not unusual for items to fly off a train and strike a car, leaving behind damages for the driver to pay for. They said if drivers take precaution and read the signs, they'll not only save a few bucks but they just may save a life.

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