Superior Auto Body Ltd Saskatoon has been in business since 1961, and they are an SGI ELITE Autobody shop and have been SGI accredited since 1982. There are many reasons they have so many loyal longstanding clients from all over the city, but mostly it is the small, personal touches that they offer to people who have been unfortunate enough to require their services. They offer newer model courtesy cars and vans for clients... and to help out, they also pick up your vehicle and take it to your SGI appointment for you and deliver the courtesy car to you at home. In our latest accident prevention tip, they share advice about safety at railway crossings in Saskatchewan.
IN A COLLISION WITH A TRAIN, THE TRAIN WILL ALWAYS WIN!
When driving your vehicle around Saskatoon and area roads, it’s easy to think you’re the king of the road. But when that road intersects with railway tracks, be prepared to give up your crown. There are so many rail tracks crisscrossing our province and many of them do not have safety barriers.
Trains are massive columns of speeding metal that can take more than a kilometer to come to a complete stop. As a driver, you need to respect their size and power or risk serious consequences.
Vehicle collisions with trains result in an average of 12 injuries and 2 deaths each year in Saskatchewan. The human cost is tragic, particularly because collisions with trains are entirely preventable.
SASKATCHEWAN RAILWAY CROSSING ISSUES
It’s a dubious distinction for Saskatchewan; a disproportionate number of railway crossings that are judged to be the most dangerous in the country. Of the 500 railway crossings that Transport Canada has assessed as being among the most dangerous in Canada, more than 60 are in this province. Put another way, with only about three percent of Canada’s population, we have an unlucky 13 percent of the crossings on this list.
Transport Canada says this list reflects a number of elements including not only the number of collisions, but also the characteristics of the crossings including:
- Volumes of rail and vehicle traffic,
- The type of trains,
- The number of tracks,
- Vehicle and train speeds and,
- Whether these crossings are in rural or urban areas.
Mixed in too, is information from a database of “rail occurrences” maintained by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, including “accident and incident” data.
RAILWAY CROSSINGS – SUPERIOR SAFETY TIPS FOR SASKATOON AND AREA DRIVERS
Be alert and be prepared to stop
As you approach a crossing in the middle of Saskatoon or in rural Saskatchewan – whether marked or uncontrolled – remember to slow down and look both ways. You must stop if you see a train coming since they always have the right of way.
Never try to race through a crossing before a train arrives
They aren’t required to slow down at crossings and their speed can often be difficult to gauge. Trying to save a few seconds by beating the train simply isn’t worth the risk. Regardless of what you drive, in a collision with a train, the train will always win. To reinforce this point, many railway crossings are equipped with electronic warning devices. Their message is simple: stop your vehicle and wait until it’s safe to proceed. Don’t needlessly put yourself in harm’s way by ignoring flashing lights or driving around barrier arms. Even if you make it safely over the tracks, a hefty fine could be waiting for you on the other side. Tickets for failing to obey a stop signal at a railway crossing start at $220.
Exercise caution around railway tracks even if you don’t see a train approaching
A common mistake is stopping on the tracks while waiting for traffic ahead of you to proceed. Not only do you risk a collision with a train, but your vehicle could be struck by the barrier arms if they’re activated. To avoid these situations, stop well behind the barriers and wait until you have enough room to clear the tracks completely.
Be sure to look for multiple sets of tracks
They are indicated by a small numbered sign under the traditional railway crossbuck. Don’t proceed after a train has passed until making sure another isn’t approaching on a different set of tracks.
Watch for other vehicles stopping in front of you
Half of all crashes occurring at crossings are rear-end collisions where the lead vehicle is slowing down or stopping. Pay particular attention to school buses since they are required to stop at all uncontrolled railway crossings. Flashing amber lights will be activated on the bus, giving you plenty of warning before it stops.
Staying safe near trains isn’t complicated. Rather, it’s a matter of knowing the rules and obeying them to ensure that you arrive at your destination safely.