Well, a.) the kid from grade school didn't have any windows between his ears and the train and he still got hit, and
b.) not every truck has power windows. I guess in all of your best practices in trailering you have never had to actually lean all the way across a Dodge Ram 2500 and wheel the passenger side window down, huh? I am 6' tall so I can tell you unless you people are 6'6" your wee arm ain't gone reach.
I'm not talking about Christopher Reeve. I'm talking about something my father taught me when he taught me how to drive in a 1970s pickup truck with manual windows. YOU STOP. YOU PUT THE BRAKE ON. YOU LEAN OVER AND ROLL THE WINDOW DOWN. Easy. Takes a min. Might save your life. If you're too busy to do that, then you shouldn't be on the road in conditions like that.
Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
Sam: A job? Does it pay?
Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.
Trains can't stop. Obey signals and CHECK if it's a non-signal crossing. In the VERY unlikely event you get stuck on a crossing, there is an emergency number on signal boxes--get OUT of your vehicle and call it, if there isn't one call 911 (the number on the box will let them stop any trains faster but 911 will do.) If there's an oncoming train and you're stuck, DON'T try to save a trailer or anything in the car, just get clear.
I was probably 17 when I was driving home from town with my grandfather in the passenger seat. He is a retired conductor. He went up one side of me and down the other for not yielding and looking both ways before crossing the tracks....at a fully controlled crossing.
He had one too many experiences with the controlled crossing lights failing, and someone driving into an oncomming train.
But you know? Time passes and I don't worry too much anymore. It's just second nature to go, unless the lights are flashing.
I live pretty close to some tracks too, with a LOT of freight coming through by rail...especially grain. I never even hear the whistle anymore..although sometimes I do feel the house vibrate as it goes by, especially at night.
Sad accident all the way around. Likely avoidable and preventable, but unlikely to be on purpose, and I feel bad for the driver.
"Show me the back of a thoroughbred horse, and I will show you my wings."
About 7 years ago my friend was driving down some backwoods road in Macon, GA about a mile from where she grew up. She drove over the train tracks and just a second later we heard something and looked behind us and there was a train just about to the road/track intersection. It freaked us both out because had we crossed the tack about 10 second later than we did, we would have been hit and had we had a horse trailer attached it probably would have been hit. She never looked because she had crossed those tracks a million times and I just wasn't paying attention. It freaked me out so badly that I come to a dead stop at every railroad crossing and look both ways first.
See, if the crossing has a signal (lights, a gate, etc) I will maybe slow down (okay, DEFINITELY at one crossing near here, as no matter how many times they rebuild the crossing, going faster than 20 means you might snap an axle like a twig.) But I don't worry too much about stopping if the signal's not active. But a crossing with no automated signals? I check.
While we do not want to think it happens, as we age, our sight starts to go, our hearing starts to go and the synapses don't fire the way they used to.
That's why accidents like this happen. My cousin and her family was t-boned because of this. An older man, with a spotless record, just did not see the stop sign or the car and hit it. My cousin's husband was killed and my cousin was seriously injured.
Also, studies have shown that people get used to things they see every day. That's how you can lose your keys when they are sitting on the kitchen table or not hear that dog barking next door....or not hear that train whistle that you hear every day.
We also had two young women make a wrong turn on a one way street that ended at a Y. They decided to drive along the tracks that ran across both streets to get to the correct leg of the Y. They got the car stuck and eventually a train whistle was heard. Some road construction crew members were already helping out when the train started coming and they planned to evacuate. The construction crew wisely chose to evacuate, but one of the young women was insisting on still freeing the car. She was forcibly removed by one of the crew guys and all lives spared.
The lesson is that in these situations, many people do seemingly very irrational things.