metrorailDo you use your headphones when walking by a train station? Are you always aware of the signals in front of you as you near the tracks? Every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. September is National Rail Safety Month, so we’re here to help practice safe behavior if you commute by or live near a train.

Here are 7 common-sense tips people often overlook:

  1. Don’t Let Your Phone Distract You

Whether you’re taking a quick glance at an email or reading a text from a friend, always be conscious of the fact that there is nothing more important being aware of your surroundings.

  1. Always Have At Least One Earbud Out

Approaching trains can be very quiet. Always make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.

  1. Keep In Mind That Trains Can’t Swerve or Stop Immediately

Physics 101: An object that stays in motion will continue to stay in motion unless acted upon by a larger force. So unless you weigh more than 70,000 pounds, you won’t win. A light rail can take up to 600 feet to stop, which is about the length of two football fields. Never try to race a train or run around the gates. You could easily slip and fall.

  1. Pay Attention to All Warnings and Signs!

Did you know that over half of all collisions occur at crossings equipped with automatic signals? When in a vehicle, always remember that the gate closes when there is a train near, and all red flashing lights are there to keep you from any serious harm. Plus, the average citation for violating railroad signs is around $185!

  1. Make Sure You Know Where You Are Standing

Always make sure that you are standing behind the yellow striped, solid or dotted lines, especially if you see or hear a train coming. And parents, make sure your kids are always at your side as they are generally not aware of the circumstances.

  1. Always Make Sure There is Enough Space

Even if it seems like the coast is clear, you should never attempt to cross a track unless you are certain there is enough space for your vehicle to come at least 10-15 feet away from the tracks. If for some reason you find yourself stalled or stuck on the tracks while a train is rapidly approaching, make sure to get out of the vehicle as quickly as possible, and never waste time trying to take any extra items with you.

  1. Run The Opposite Way

If you find yourself having to flee from your vehicle after getting stuck in the middle of the tracks, make sure to run away from the vehicle at an angle in the direction of the approaching train. Upon collision, the train will send numerous parts of your vehicle flying outward and ahead, which can cause serious harm or even death to those standing in the wrong area during the point of impact.