go train hits car

Toronto driver smoked by GO Train after ignoring signals at rail crossing

Jarring new video footage from Metrolinx shows what anyone with a basic sense of self-preservation and even a rudimentary knowledge of physics should already innately know by the time they're old enough to drive a car: You can't beat a train.

The video, released by the regional transit authority on Monday, was filmed in mid-May at the Carl Hall Road rail crossing near Toronto's Downsview Park.

In it, we see a dark-coloured SUV approach the level crossing just as some protective arms start to drop, indicating that a fast-moving train will soon pass through the intersection.

Instead of waiting for the train to pass and the barriers to lift (like pretty much anyone who doesn't want to die), the driver maneuvers their vehicle around the temporary gate and straight onto the tracks.

It takes all of three seconds for a GO Train to appear in frame, barrelling toward the vehicle while it's stuck on the tracks between both sets of arms.

Even if you're expecting the thwack, it's shocking to see in real time.

The SUV's driver somehow walked away without significant injuries and has been charged for what Metrolinx, which operates GO Transit, describes as "reckless actions."

"This incident could have been much worse, for the driver and everyone on and near the train," said Metrolinx Chief Safety Officer Martin Gallagher in a blog post published Monday.

"Collisions at level crossings are caused by pedestrians, cyclists and drivers who deliberately take risks or make bad decisions by mistake, out of habit or because they're distracted. Everyone needs to be alert at level crossings and remember that trains move quickly and can appear at any time."

It's not clear why this particular driver tried to beat the train, but it happens more often than you might think: More than 100 Canadians are seriously injured or killed every year at road crossings, according to the rail safety organization Operation Lifesaver.

"Almost every one of these incidents is preventable," notes the org. "Stay at a safe distance from trains and off railway property and tracks. Don't use train tracks as a shortcut. And always obey railway signs and signals. Look. Listen. Live."

And please, for the love of all things decent, don't try to take selfies with an oncoming train. You could be fined thousands of dollars for trespassing and put on blast for the entire internet to see — if you're lucky enough to survive, that is.

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