When trains collide with big rigs on the tracks, it instantly becomes an extremely hazardous situation. The high-velocity debris field generated from the impact can maim or kill drivers and passengers in cars even quite some distance from the original impact.
Professional truck drivers must stay alert for changing conditions that have a significant impact on the lives of others on the road or elsewhere in their vicinity. The railroads are aware of the hazards of vehicular collisions with trains, and address them, in part, with programs like Operation Lifesaver. This program provides both passenger vehicle drivers and professional truckers with safety tips for navigating highway-rail train crossings.
On average, a freight train going 55 mph takes at least one mile to stop. Big rigs should not stop within 15 feet of a rail crossing. When in traffic, truckers should never proceed across the tracks unless they can clear the crossing in plenty of time.
All trucks should cross tracks with their trailer jacks in the upright position, as non-retracted jacks may cause a big rig's trailer to get stuck on the rails. If the worst occurs and a truck gets hung up in a crossing, the driver should hop out and call either the local police or the 800 number posted by the tracks to alert any trains to the hazard.
If you suffered injuries due to a train colliding with a large commercial truck at a crossing, you might have a cause of action to file a claim for damages against the responsible parties. Since determining what individuals and entities may share liability for such an accident can be complex, seeking legal guidance is a wise idea.
Source: Operation Lifesaver, "Stay Alive When You Drive," accessed Dec. 18, 201