Thursday, February 28, 2008

Railroad Crossing - look out for the cars!

This morning I had the scariest driving experience of my entire life. I've done some stupid things while driving, more than I'd care to admit actually, but this was BY FAR the stupidest.

To get to our house we have to cross like 10 gajillion sets of train tracks. OK, maybe it's only 4, but it feels closer to 10 gajillion. The first 3 sets all have arms that come down when a train is coming (which is surprisingly often). The set farthest West (and thereby closest to our house) has no arm - just a measly "Railroad Crossing" sign.

For the first few weeks we did the drive, we whined about the trains – I swear they ONLY came when we were trying to get through. Now I kindof count on them, so I can finish putting on my makeup in the car while I wait for them to come (bad I know…) A couple of weeks ago, I realized that there is 1 set of tracks that has no arms, no lights, no warnings if there is a train coming. Thinking that was odd – I asked Josh what the law is in that situation.

“Well, you should probably look both ways before you cross.”
“Is that the law though?” I asked.
“I don’t know, school buses stop.” As if that answered my question – just because a school bus does it, doesn’t mean it’s the law. Seriously, if I stopped on every residential corner and put a bunch of kids in my vehicle, I’d be charged with kidnapping. If we all did things just because the school bus does, we’d be in a lot of trouble. But, being the kind, generous, forgiving, non-condemning person that I am, I accepted that as an answer. For 2 whole trips we both stopped (or at least slowed) before crossing the tracks. That got old – fast. Now we both just drive right through them.

This morning as we approached the tracks, we were listening to the Book of Mormon and I was enthralled by the story of the Brother of Jared (what a fantastic story! Sometimes I forget that reading is different than telling yourself the story you’ve heard since primary). I also happened to be the one driving. I heard a loud horn, looked in my rearview mirror to see who was honking at me and saw no-one - until I was almost on top of the train tracks. There was a train, RIGHT THERE! And it was moving! Fast!

My foot hesitated over the break, before I quickly changed my mind knowing I couldn’t stop in time. We sailed across the tracks and crossed safely by a fraction of a second.

How on earth we weren’t both killed is beyond me. When I looked up, the train couldn’t have been more than 2 yards away, honking like crazy (duh!) and that was before I had crossed! Josh hadn’t seen the train, I hadn’t seen the train, there was no possible way I could have stopped, and had I gotten there just a second later, we would have been hit. Hard.

I’m sure the people behind me thought I was a complete idiot (“didn’t her mama tell her not to race the trains?” “Being late for work is no excuse for driving like an idiot!”) and they were right, but I truly didn’t see it! I was shaking the rest of the drive in to work. I have to say I got un-enthralled with the Brother of Jared, and re-enthralled with driving.

I’d love to petition the train people to put arms on every intersection. In our situation they could just move the arm out 20 feet and it would include this other track. It seems insane to me that there was literally nothing, absolutely nothing to warn me of the oncoming train. Well, with the exception of the horn – but I couldn’t hear that until I was too close, and couldn’t tell where it was coming from until too late! And why do people even move stuff by train anymore – haven’t they heard of airplanes? Trains are not efficient, and I’m sure it’s bad for the environment, so trains shouldn’t be allowed to run on “red days” in this state anyway. I blame the inventor of the train! And the inventor of stupid Railroad signs that don’t do anything! And the inventor of red days! Until something changes though, I’m going to strive to be more like a school bus – lock up your children.


  1. Wow. That is absolutely terrifying. Both the part about you almost being hit, and the part about you being more like a school bus...thanks for the warning!

  2. Scary!!! I am so glad you guys are okay. Good job on the quick reaction of gunning it. I probably would have stopped and got hit.

  3. that is scary!! im glad you both are okay!


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