I always stop at railroad crossings, even if the gates are up and there are no lights flashing. I won’t stay long if I don’t see anything coming, but I don’t want to take a chance.
It’s no exaggeration at all to say that a train hitting a car is like a car hitting a soda can.I just read a magazine article, written by a locomotive engineer, making this point. A full soda can weighs one pound, while a typical car weighs 3,000 pounds. If you hit a soda can with your car, you might not even know it, but there won’t be much left of the can.
A train that weighs 3,000 times as much as your car is considered at best a medium-sized train. Some weigh much more than that. So if that train hits your car, the result will be comparable to your car hitting a soda can. At best.
Also consider that by the time the engineer sees your car, it’s really too late to stop. The engineer will probably try, but at that point, the question isn’t whether the train will stop, but at what speed it will be going when it hits the car.
I’ve never tried it, but I’m pretty confident my car can crush a soda can just fine even at 5 miles per hour.