CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)- Lowcountry police and state organizations are educating drivers about how to drive safely at railroad crossings after two fatal accidents at one intersection in six months.
“Very little time it’s the train’s fault if any. It’s someone not paying attention or being in a hurry,” said Lance Corporal Nick Pye of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. “We’re just trying to make the public aware of the dangers and the laws.”
The crossing is at Remount Road and Dutton Avenue is where several people have died in car versus train incidents.
“We just need to make sure that we approach every crossing, no matter what type of device is there, with caution,” said Janice Cowen, the State Coordinator for South Carolina Operation Lifesaver. “You should be looking and listening for a train and never trying to beat a train if you see one coming.”
The crossing in North Charleston has gates and flashing red lights with two tracks.
“If there’s two tracks that could mean there’s two trains. If they’re waiting for one to pass they need to make sure they see clearly down both tracks before they cross,” said Cowen.
Operation Lifesaver says that drivers should always assume a train is coming when they approach a train crossing. Trains that are traveling at 55 miles per hour take over a mile to make a complete stop.
“We have a saying ‘If you don’t fit, don’t commit,'” said Cowen. “If you do find yourself in an emergency please get out of your vehicle is there’s a train coming or not. Try to get away from the train.”
Data from the South Carolina Department of Transportation indicates that train versus car incidents are on the rise in the Tri-County.
Lance Corporal Pye, who grew up in Hanahan says that he has seen drivers disobey the traffic laws many times.
“I actually knew one of the victims who was hit by a train. He was from Hanahan and well known in the area,” said Lance Corporal Pye. “The main thing I think you need to focus on is your safety and your life.”