I have zero sympathy for people who lose their lives or limbs in accidents at rail crossings because sitting still for 5 minutes is just so god-damn unbearable to them that taking on a speeding train in their squishy car seems like a great idea. Just this morning I saw a van completely ignore the flashing lights, speed up, swerve to avoid the lowering barriers, and turn into a traffic-filled highway with no care in the world.
If that van driver got into what would have been a very one sided fight with the approaching train, I’d have no sympathy for him. I will however have sympathy for the train driver who will have to try live a normal life having killed or seriously injured someone, the passengers who would have had to stand around in the cold while paramedics cut the driver out of his van instead of getting to work on time.
I would also have sympathy for the family and friends of the van driver, who will grieve over a completely senseless and preventable loss. Never will I have sympathy for the idiot thinking he can cheat death to get somewhere a few minutes earlier. In fact I suggest in the event he did get hit and die, he be given a Darwin Award.
Of course, it would be rude of me to not accept the fact that sometimes a driver of a car or truck can break down or get stuck on the tracks through no fault of their own, but the focus of this article is not on those who get into this terrible situation due to bad luck, but on people who recklessly and purposefully put themselves in harm’s way.
I also have a hard time thinking this could be a case of “maybe he didn’t notice”. How anyone can miss the bright-red flashing lights, loud bells, the barriers blocking the road and the enormous train itself with the bright lights on the front just seems impossible. I can’t think there is a snow man’s chance in hell that someone drives into a crossing lit up like the 4th of July without knowing it, and if they do, how the hell did they get a license if their spatial awareness is non existent? If you can’t notice any of the above warnings and get hit by a train, then I wonder how many children that person has run over without knowing it.
I have a really hard time working out why this occurs at all, let alone 13 times in 2014 here in New Zealand. I’ll tell you what these statistics make me: Scared. Scared that I am sharing the road with the kind of people who get hit by trains.
Seriously, if people are bad enough drivers to blow through a crossing that looks and sounds like the world’s worst Christmas parade, I cringe at the thought of how bad their driving must be around schools or in busy city centers? In a way, I am starting to understand why red light runners exist. If they’re willing to take on a fucking train, an old lady in a hatchback and a green light really doesn’t stand a chance.