Defensive Driving Blog

Don’t Take Light Rail Too Lightly

According to NPR, it’s hard to find a city in America that isn’t planning, proposing, studying or actually building a light rail system. There were 35 light rail systems operating in the U.S. in 2010 with many more in the planning stages. Dallas and Houston are the most notable in Texas but Austin and San Antonio have been debating the issue for years.

defensive driving tips for light rail

Whether light rail is a daily occurrence in your life or not, you will have occasions while driving your car to cross paths with one of these trains. Have you given any thought to the rules that govern these encounters? Here are just a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Light rail is very quiet; in fact the trains are quieter than most buses and cars.

  • Do not walk in front of, between, or behind the trains.

  • Do not drive, stop, or park your vehicle on the tracks. It is dangerous and illegal.

  • Although quiet, light rail trains are still heavy and can’t start or stop quickly, regardless of traffic flow.

  • Cross the tracks only at designated pedestrian crossings and only when it is safe to do so.

  • Look both ways before crossing the tracks. Trains travel in both directions.

  • Obey all warnings signs, flashing lights, signals and crossing gates. Police will issue tickets to violators.

  • Stay alert, you may not hear them coming.

  • Listen for bells and horns.

  • Never race a train or run in front of a train.

  • Never try to beat a train to a crossing.

  • Never drive around crossing gate arms.

  • Never put anything on or near the tracks.

Texas is ranked with four other states as having the most crossing collisions in the U.S., as well as the most fatalities from those collisions. Nationwide crossing fatalities increased in 2014 by almost 16%. It is worth your time and effort to make a note of the guidelines we have provided and keep yourself and your loved ones from being a statistic.

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