One of the many unexpected and horrifying hazards that may happen to a driver is to stall out or otherwise get stuck on railroad tracks. If this happens to you, you may want to panic, for obvious reasons. However, there is a right way to handle this sort of situation and a wrong way. If you find yourself in this situation, you are going to want to handle it the right way. Your life could depend on it.
Before we get into what you should and should not do if your car stalls on the railroad tracks, here are a few things you should know. Your reaction and the best procedure to follow remain the same whether you see a train coming or you do not. Remember, trains approach at high speeds and they often appear to be farther away and/or slower than they actually are. In other words, if you do not see a train, that does not mean one is not coming. In addition, if you do see a train, it may get to you faster than you think.
If your car stalls on the train tracks, do not attempt to restart it. (If you must do this, be sure that you can see in both directions for some distance and that there is no train in either direction.) The first thing you want to do is get out and away from the vehicle. You want to make your passengers aware of the situation as well and that they need to get out of the car and run away from the tracks (preferably not in the middle of the road). If you have passengers who are incapable of this, assist them to the best of your ability.
Under no circumstances are you to try to fix the car's problems while it is on the tracks. Nor should you try to push it off the tracks. Unless you are absolutely certain that no trains come across the tracks you are stuck on, you should always assume that a train is coming. Do you want to have your head under the hood, or your hands on the trunk when that train does come?
Now, going back to the moment in the car when you realize that you and your passengers have to evacuate. You want to do this as quickly as you can without panicking. However, if you do have the wherewithal to take a split second to turn on your hazard lights, doing so could prevent an accident, so do it. If you remember this bit of advice after you have left the vehicle, let it go. Remember, do not approach the vehicle at all, once you have left it, unless you can be absolutely certain that there is no train coming anytime soon and that you have enough time to get to the vehicle, do what you set out to do and get back to safety before one could possibly get there.
Once you are out of the vehicle, you are going to want to run a good distance from the tracks, especially if a train is coming. Remember, if a train comes and hits your vehicle, it can send debris flying. You do not want to be hit with pieces of your mangled car. Also, remember to stay out of the road. You may be a little frightened, but you do not want to run into a moving car. Once you have some distance between you and the tracks, contact police, if you can. If not, other drivers are likely to come along. Hopefully, you will meet one that has a cell phone or is willing to drive to the nearest phone and contact police.