Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation is observing Rail Safety Week by urging rural residents to be safe around trains. Public records show trains hit a person or vehicle roughly every three hours.
Rachel Maleh, executive director of Operation Lifesaver, says it’s important people stay alert at railroad crossings.
Maleh: People are more and more distracted and they’re not paying attention when they’re driving, when they’re walking, when they’re biking. The biggest challenge is changing that human behavior and getting people to be mindful of their surroundings and to look both ways at railroad crossings.
Clements: Rural rail crossings are more dangerous than others and typically have fewer warning signals and signs to keep people safe. Operation Lifesaver has five tips for farm equipment operators.
Maleh: Slow down as you approach a railroad crossing. Two, stop no closer than 15 feet from the crossing. Stop, look and listen for trains. Roll back and forth in your seat to see around obstacles. Four, do a double take. Look both ways again before crossing. And five, go. Once you start across the tracks do not hesitate and do not change gears.
Clements: Maleh says following rail safety tips can empower others to do the same.
Maleh: Rails safety is within everyone’s power to be safe around the railroad tracks. You can be a model to your families and your friends. You can wait behind the gate, you can wait when you see the lights flashing. Be safe and stay alive, and make sure that you communicate that with your family and friends.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.