Vehicle-Train Collisions: What to do if Your Car is Stuck on the Railroad Tracks?

Personal injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “I was involved in a motor vehicle accident with injuries. Do I need a lawyer?”


You are driving through a highway-rail grade crossing when, all of a sudden, your vehicle gets stuck on railroad tracks. No one is ever prepared for this situation, and it would be difficult not to panic, especially if a train is rushing toward you.

So, what should you do if your car is stuck on the railroad tracks? It is a terrifying question to ask yourself, but a recent train-vehicle collision in Charlotte proves that every North Carolina resident must know railroad crossing safety tips.

Fact: Each year, highway-rail incidents at public and private crossings across the U.S. cause approximately 260 fatalities and more than 800 injuries.


train-crash-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Persona-Injury-Lawyer-225x300Vehicle-Train Collision in Charlotte, North Carolina

Things got very scary when a Charlotte woman’s vehicle got stuck on the railroad tracks at the intersection of Back Creek Church Road and University City Drive. It was dark and raining that night.

The woman told WBTV that she followed GPS to find a turn onto University City Boulevard. However, she turned too soon and ended up driving straight onto the railroad tracks. She could not move her vehicle, so she called 911 to get help.

Moments after hanging up, the woman heard a train coming. She jumped out of her car and watched the train smashing into her vehicle. Back Creek Church Road was closed for a few hours after the incident.


Authorities are Planning to Close the Railroad Crossing in Charlotte

According to the report, it is not the first vehicle-train crash at this intersection. Between 2000 and 2018, there were at least seven collisions involving a train and a motor vehicle. Authorities are currently planning a widening project of NC-49, which includes rerouting Back Creek Church Road to Wyndham Pointe Drive.

Authorities say the railroad crossing will be closed because traffic will go under the bridge after the project is complete. However, it could take a while to complete the project, as construction is set to begin in 2023 and expected to wrap up by 2026.


What to do if You are Stuck on the Railroad Tracks

If your car will not budge from the tracks, getting out of the vehicle and waving your arms in an attempt to stop the moving train is a normal reaction to the situation. However, doing so is not only ineffective, but also dangerous.

After all, it can take a train a long time to come to a stop. After engaging its emergency brakes, a train could travel more than a mile before coming to a halt.

If your vehicle got stuck on the railroad trucks, follow these safety tips to help keep you and your passengers safe:

  • The first priority is to get yourself and all passengers out of your car as quickly as possible, even if you do not see a train in the vicinity.
  • After everyone got out, there is still a chance to stop the train. Run toward it while angling away from the tracks (upon impact with the vehicle, the train may send glass and metal debris flying in all directions).
  • If there is no train on the way, contact the railroad to inform them that your car got stuck on the tracks.

Contact a Charlotte personal injury attorney if you got injured while your vehicle was stuck on the tracks or if there was an auto collision that caused your car to end up on the tracks. Call us now at 704-370-2828 to speak with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and our new location in Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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