The dangers of level crossings…

There’s a TV ad running at the moment, which shows a young girl approaching an unmanned level crossing on foot. She steps around the barrier, looks to see if a train’s coming, and gets mown down.

I have a problem with this. Trains are big, noisy and conspicuous – and often very fast – but they don’t just leap out at you instantaneously! Hell, if you’re close to the line you can feel them coming.

While I’m aware that idiots do get themselves killed on level crossings (Darwinism in action?), you’d have to be pretty dumb to do so. If the barriers are down at an unmanned crossing, it means – obviously – a train is coming, but the lag between the barriers descending and the train arriving can be several minutes, often longer (I’ve sat at crossings for as long as 10-15 minutes before the train put in an appearance). This is a safety factor, to give everyone a chance to get clear. It’s not an invitation to make a run for it.

But, what if you’re tempted? The girl in the TV ad looks for the train – presumably she didn’t see one – or hear or feel one – and if not she could have crossed in perfect safety. If the train isn’t in sight, or hearing, it can’t possibly kill her a split second later – not unless it’s travelling faster than sound, or even light.

So, while I’m not saying that assorted numpties should take chances on crossings, getting themselves creamed in the process (how can they not see or hear a goddamned train, ffs?), I am saying that if we’re going to have public information ads like these, we need a degree of realism, because nonsense like this will just cause its target audience to laugh derisively – and quite possibly become future victims, because the idiocy of the scenario so dilutes the message.

It’s quite easy to do – just reshoot that segment and have the girl run straight out without looking – that’s realistic; it’s what kids do, a lot. Having her check carefully and timorously, and yet still get killed isn’t.

5 thoughts on “The dangers of level crossings…

  1. they say people can actually walk on a train track & still get mowed down … unbelievable isn’t it

    The noise, vibration & mere size of a train – how could one not avoid it?

    I suppose a train traveling at 100KM/hr (60MPH) moves a fair distance in such a short time, in fact 88 feet per second, so getting killed by one when you are in its path is not all that difficult

    • If a train is close enough to kill you, it’s close enough to see, hear, and probably feel. Anyone who steps in front of a train that they are aware of deserves to get creamed. As I said, Darwinism in action. . .

  2. like a speeding bullet Ron & not to drive home the fact that its real easy at the best of times to get killed by a train at level crossing or walking on a track that someone should IMO not being doing

    Lets say a person walks around the barrier to cross & lets say it takes 30-seconds for the average person to walk the distance.

    Looking both ways, no train in sight – so its safe to go

    Half way across there is an experience of ‘crash, bang wollop’ – flat as a pancake

    In fact when the person started out assuming its a regular commuter express train traveling at 60mph, was in fact a quarter of a mile away from the crossing.

    At 88 feet per second in 15 seconds the train has traveled 1320 feet (440 yards) thats a full 1/4 mile & suddenly its at your feet

    Easy pee Ron, it can happen to anyone. I have witnessed it with my own eyes

    Darwinism at its best seeing the intercity trains can travel at up to speeds of 125mph (Liverpool to London with stops in about 2hrs) & goodness only knows what those freight trains speed at

    • Let us, perhaps, say that anyone who get themselves mown down by a train – save for those who do so deliberately – is a fuckwit, and deserves what they get!

  3. no head scratching here, those who do not having some plain old common sense, with others not understanding time or speed is a better motive Ron

    Bring back the old coal steam trains, they were wonderful

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