GREENSBORO, N.C. — An unoccupied vehicle trapped between the railroad crossing arm bars at Atwater Drive and Mackay Road was totaled after being struck by a freight train Wednesday.
The incident was reported by a passerby who called 911 at approximately 12:35 pm. Witnesses reported that the driver, the sole occupant of the small blue car, safely abandoned the vehicle on the railroad tracks as the train approached.
Officials from Norfolk Southern Railway and the Greensboro Police Department are continuing to investigate. No charges have been filed.
The incident briefly stopped rail traffic and closed portions of the roadway.
Motorists and pedestrians are encouraged to take extra precautions near rails, officials warned.
Trains can neither veer nor stop quickly enough to avoid a collision with a person on vehicle on the tracks, officials said in a press release issued Wednesday. The average freight train traveling at 55 mph needs more than a mile (the length of 18 football fields) to stop.
Police give these tips for avoiding collisions with trains:
People should always expect a train to be coming on the rails and at roadway intersections. Not all trains travel on a fixed schedule. Plus, quieter technology makes it less likely to hear an approaching train.
Always assume railroad tracks are active, even if there are weeds or the track looks unused.
Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians must be alert around railroad tracks. Avoid anything that would prevent hearing or seeing an oncoming train – such as texting or wearing headphones.
Never try to “beat” a train. It’s difficult to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming train. Any approaching train is closer and moving faster than one may think.
Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings. Observe and obey all warning signs and signals. Never drive or walk around lowered gates—it’s illegal and deadly. If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, exit the vehicle and move away from the crossing.
Do not walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks, bridges, or property or through tunnels. A train can extend three feet or more beyond the rail; always stay at least 20 feet from the tracks.
All train tracks are private property. Trespassing is illegal and extremely dangerous.
If you think a signal is malfunctioning, call 911 or (336) 373-2222.