As a sort of postfix to my last entry, I’d like to add some thoughts on level crossings. Occasionally, particularly after an accident has occurred, people wonder how anybody could miss the railway crossing lights. I strongly suspect that this is the same sort of thing; we don’t get enough practice at stopping at railway crossings, because trains are so infrequent that we hardly ever need to.
As it happens I can present a personal anecdote on this subject: a year or so back I was approaching a level crossing, on my way home from work. Now, I’ve needed to stop at this crossing before, but always behind another car. This was the first time I’ve ever been driving the car in front approaching a level crossing with an oncoming train.
I swear it took me at least five seconds to realise the significance of the warning sign. I reckon I came within a hair’s breadth of not realising it at all: if I’d been a little more distracted, or perhaps just a little more tired, I think I’d have gone straight through the crossing, and perhaps been killed. Scared me half to death.
My answer to the problem: put in traffic lights. You know, the regular red/orange/green sort that most of us experience every day and are used to stopping for. I’m betting this would significantly reduce the accident rate at level crossings.
What do you think? Worth a try?