It may seem like common sense, but train safety has been a hot topic in South Florida since the opening of Brightline last week. Meant to be a “carefree” way to travel between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, this express train is creating more concern than convenience.
Five deaths have occured due to incidents with the train since its trial runs began last summer, calling for action to be taken in establishing more safety measures. And while these deaths are undoubtedly tragic, it’s not only a matter of adjusting Brightline safety measures to suit the needs of pedestrians and drivers.
In fact, it’s not just a Brightline issue at all. The number of deaths involving a train rose exponentially throughout South Florida in the past year. This general failure with the safety precautions that are already put in place means that commuters need to be more aware while traveling.
So, while seeing or hearing a train go by while you’re on Atlantic Avenue or exploring City Place is the norm, here’s a rundown of why you should slow down before crossing any tracks:
Always Expect a Train
Trains move quicker than you may think. And, they don’t have the ability to stop on a dime. So, even when a train isn’t in site, you need to be paying attention.
Never Race a Train
Brightline boasts being able to get from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach in 30 minutes. While the train may seem to be meters away, do not risk crossing the tracks at any time the train is visible.
Go to Designated Crossings
There are spots designated for pedestrians to cross tracks. It may feel just as casual as walking outside of the crosswalk, but it’s better safe than sorry.
Follow the Signs
The yellow crossbuck sign featuring “railroad crossing” written across it should be treated as a yield sign. If automated gates are down and lights are flashing, they are indicating an oncoming train. You are to stop at the indicated line, never stopping on the track itself.
If Your Car Gets Stuck, Get Out
Should an emergency occur and your car gets stuck on the tracks, immediately get everyone out of the car – leaving your possessions – and move away. If there is a train in site, run toward and away from it to avoid debris from the collision.