Drivers blasé about level crossing safety

New research finds drivers more careless at level crossings

railway level crossing sign

It appears that many motorists are confident they’ll see and hear a train before they get to a level crossing, so they don’t need to be as careful as perhaps they should.

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety has been looking at driver behaviour around level crossings and found many drivers are less cautious than they would be at traditional road intersetions.

Related: Automated car laws on the NTC agenda

Researcher, Dr Gregoire Larue, found drivers approach level crossings at significantly faster speeds than road intersections.

“We saw that drivers were preparing to stop 75 metres before the road intersection but only 30 metres before a level crossing without lights or boom gates,”

“Drivers were therefore forced to stop much more abruptly at level crossings.”

Another key finding of the study was that drivers spend a lot less time assessing the situation at a level crossing than they do at a road intersection without traffic.

Dr Larue said this meant drivers might not adequately assess whether a train was approaching, given that trains could arrive much faster than cars, and were unable to take evasive action.

“The study also found drivers did not appropriately adapt their driving behaviour to the reduced visibility of night-time driving,” Dr Larue said.

Related: New Car Safety Technology Not Working?

Are you extra cautious when approaching level crossings? Or do you believe spotting an oncoming train is easier than a car or truck at a road intersection? Ever had a near miss?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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