|A rant after watching a disturbing video clip.
||[17 August 2006|09:19 pm]
This footage is disturbing.
I frankly have no sympathy for people who get hit by trains. Of all the dumb ways to die, it really has to be one of the stupidest. Now, naturally, this rule has exceptions: if your car is pushed in front of a train by some impatient prick behind you (it's really happened) or you had nothing to do with the idiotic decision because you were just a passenger on a bus or something of the sort, then you have an excuse for being in the way. But if you're stupid enough to think you can beat a train, or you stayed in your car when it has stalled on the line, or you were playing too close to the edge of the platform, or any other form of foolish activity, you pretty much got what was coming to you in the most literal sense of the phrase. I think some people forget that trains always have the right of way, full stop.*
It just amazes me that some people - generally men in love with their accelerators - think they are actually capable of beating a train. Let's see: the train can't turn or come to an abrupt stop like a car generally can, and it's a whole lot heavier. Even the largest of trucks come off worse for wear against a train. Do some people think the train can come to a sudden stop and avoid a collision? Because they clearly have no concept of momentum; heavy freight trains can take a kilometre to come to a halt.
And then there are the classic cases of people who claim they just didn't see the lights flashing or hear the train coming. It's just basic common sense to be aware of what's happening around you. A train isn't exactly going to sneak up on you: they tend to be pretty loud, and it has a pretty clearly defined path. Don't people look when they are around railway tracks? I mean, if you walk out across a road without looking left and right, it's pretty much your own fault for not paying attention when a car smacks into you. Same logic applies to a railway. If you don't bother to make sure a train (which has a superior claim to you for the space) is not coming and then walk or drive out in front of one, you got what was coming to you.
Yet, despite my lack of sympathy for those who are struck by trains, I do hope they survive. I'd like to say this comes from my firm belief in the preservation of human life, but that honestly plays just a small part in it. I hope those hit by trains survive for the sake of the poor train driver. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to have a person or car appear on the tracks in front of you; you basically have to hit the emergency brakes and watch as you hit them and crush them beneath your locomotive. That must really emotionally mess up the locomotive drivers, especially those who hit school buses or mothers pushing prams across the tracks or any other incident involving kids.
So that's my rant. Be sensible around trains, people.
*This technically isn't true. In Gisborne, New Zealand, the railway line crosses the end of the airport's runway and planes have the right of way. But it is SUCH a rare occurrence for trains to not have the right of way that I figured this sort of detail was only appropriate for a small note as, for all intents and purposes, trains have right of way at all times.