AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Rail safety week begins Monday with the goal of preventing tragedies on the tracks.

Rail safety week is spearheaded by the national rail-safety education group Operation Lifesaver, which says that every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train here in the U.S., and more than fifty percent of collisions happen at crossings equipped with lights or gates. Never drive around lowered gates, even when it may be tempting. It’s illegal and can be deadly.

22News spoke with an Agawam resident who often comes across a railroad crossing on her way to work. She says being patient or finding an alternate route can help prevent accidents.

“Go around. Don’t cross if the arms are down. You know, the other day one of the trains backed up like two feet away from the sensor, so we could’ve gone around and that was at rush hour, but you can’t it’s against the law. So my suggestion is to wait it out.” Becky Crum, Agawam

There have been several deadly accidents on railways in western Massachusetts over the past few years.
However, infrastructure improvements have made railways a bit safer. These include the addition of protective gates and signals and the relocation of tracks.

Operation Lifesaver encourages the public to obey warning signs and always respect that a train is coming when at a railway.