In first six month of 2020, 13 individuals narrowly escaped death on tracks
Not a month goes by without a number of hazardous situations on the Estonian railroad with individuals escaping death more than narrowly. These dangerous situations have been caused by not paying enough attention – crossing the railroad, pedestrians fail to make sure no trains are approaching, while bicycles and cars are in a rush, abandoning precautions for traffic safety.
“During the first half year, there have been four accidents on the tracks and in the immediate vicinity of the railroad, three of which came to a tragic end. 13 people scarcely escaped with their life,” said Elron’s Safety Manager Natali Aosaar.
“Railroad safety has gradually improved year by year. As compared to 2019, there have been fewer accidents on Estonian railroads. The springtime quarantine no doubt affected safety related statistics as there were less people involved in traffic – at the beginning of summer the number of narrow escapes shot up again. Regrettably, this year has seen one fatal accident more as compared to the same half year period a year ago,” Aosaar said.
Aosaar highlighted the fact that hazardous situations on the tracks and on railroad crossings are most often caused by road users’ inattentiveness: pedestrians have their eyes locked on their smartphone screens, cyclists rush to cross the railroad without making sure no trains are approaching, children play on the tracks or overly close to the railroad, and cars fail to verify that it’s safe to cross, rushing headlong onto the tracks.
“A train’s braking distance is tens of times longer than that of an average car – a train cannot stop, noticing a human being, while a human being can stop, noticing a train,” stressed Elron’s Safety Manager.
Crossing the railroad, always make sure no trains are approaching – do so by looking left and right and by listening to the traffic flow.
Elron’s Safety Manager pointed out that although the wheels of the modern train no longer rattle like they did with old trains, you can nonetheless see and hear a train amongst other traffic. “Trains always blow their whistle when exiting a station and before reaching a railroad crossing – what has changed is people’s attentiveness and behavior: we as if fail to realize we are part of ongoing traffic and ignore basic traffic rules.”
“During the kindergarten and school year that’s about to begin, children, parents, and other road users should give some extra thought to navigating traffic conditions safely and to paying even more attention. Each adult serves as a role model for a child, and every child for their peers – just like it’s not okay to play on the road and crossing a road, you must always make sure it’s safe, the railroad as well must be crossed only in places designated for that, while verifying no trains are approaching,” Elron’s Safety Manager Natali Aosaar reminded us.