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What can happen when your car gets stuck on a level crossing?

Last year 46 accidents occurred at level crossings on the railways across Belgium.  Nine people were killed and a further five injured. 

Rail track operator Infrabel has released new footage showing what the impact of a collision between a train and a car can be.

What should you do if you are Involved in an incident at a level crossing?  Infrabel’s advice is clear: leave the track and make sure you are safe, contact the emergency number 112 if e.g. a vehicle is stuck on the tracks.  It may still be possible to avoid a collision. You can identify your location thanks to the red sticker.

Despite a series of public awareness campaigns there has been no reduction in the number of accidents at level crossings (except in 2020 when due to the pandemic fewer cars were on the roads). 2021 was the fourth year out of five to record nine fatalities. 

Half of all accidents are caused by people failing to comply with the highway code e.g. people ignoring a red light and a barrier that is (coming) down and still attempting to cross.  Often local people, who think they know the situation well enough, are involved.

Undue care is another important reason of accidents (40%).  Drivers make a turn too soon and get stuck on the rails.  It’s best to alert the authorities to the situation first using the emergency number 112 because often too much time is wasted trying to free a vehicle that got stuck and then a collision is unavoidable. The message is bring yourself and others in safety first, then contact the authorities.  Rail traffic can then be halted preventing an accident.  All level crossings are easily identified thanks to a red sticker indicating the line and the crossing’s location.

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