Looking twice at train tracks may save your life


Look right, look left, look for trains. That’s the message NZ Police and the NZ Transport Agency are supporting this Rail Safety Week, and it could save your life.

Inspector Peter McKennie, Operations Manager: Road Policing, says we will be supporting the week by spreading the message to look first before you cross train tracks.

It only takes a few seconds, and those few seconds could save your life.

“Whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver, you need to look twice in both directions, as well as listen for trains.

Trains can come from both directions on one set of tracks.

“Just as red light running is dangerous, so is trying to race the bells, lights, or barrier arms.

A train can’t stop suddenly, but if you take that few extra seconds to look both ways it could save your life,” says Inspector McKennie.

“As a driver it’s important to ensure there is plenty of clear space on the other side of the train tracks for your vehicle, and any long load you’re carrying or trailer you’re towing, before you drive over the crossing.

“As a pedestrian, only cross at designated crossing points.

You might have to walk a little further, but these crossing points are designed and located to maximise safety. Also consider people with less risk awareness, such as children, who may copy your unsafe behaviour with tragic consequences.”

NZ Transport Agency Director Safety and Environment Harry Wilson says 107 people have been killed from railway incidents since 2012.

Sadly so far this year, 14 people have lost their lives.

“Every one of those fatal collisions is a tragedy.

Imagine the impact this has had on the loved ones of those who have died, and on the train drivers who were unable to avoid the collision.

“Looking for trains is a simple action but it’s not being done every time people cross railway tracks.

Often we’re distracted or too complacent that we forget trains can’t stop quickly, and they can't deviate from their course.

“Sometimes there might even be two trains.

If a train has passed or is stopped at a station, you still need to check both ways to make sure another train isn’t coming.

Two tracks may mean there is a second train,” says Mr Wilson.

For more information visit: www.tracksafe.co.nz/media/rail-safety-week(external link)