Don’t text yourself to death: that train you don’t see CAN hurt you

July is Cellphone Courtesy Month. Not using your phone when driving isn’t just a courtesy, it’s critical—especially around trains. Distracted driving can be deadly.

Don’t think you’re that distracted while texting or talking on the phone? Here are the stats:

  • 5 seconds is the minimal amount of time your attention is taken away from the road when you’re texting and driving. That might not seem like much, but a car travelling just 50 kilometres per hour goes almost 70 metres in that time. That’s 75% of the length of a football field. Imagine what could cross your path in that time, including a train. (It’s worse when you consider that the average time for replying to a text message is 33.6 seconds.)
  • Texting while driving increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times.
  • Even just dialing and talking increase your risk - dialing by 2.8 times and talking or listening by 1.3 times.

And don’t get the idea that hands-free talking or texting is the solution. A Texas A&M study found that drivers who used hands-free applications that convert voice to text had reaction times that were as slow as those who typed their messages.


Young drivers are more likely to text and drive and that increases their risk of not seeing that train coming down the tracks. If there’s a newly licensed driver in your life, encourage them to take the Operation Lifesaver Train to Drive course online for life-saving tips. Remind them to never text and drive. When you do, you put yourself, your passengers and other people on the road at risk.

But it’s not just teens who text and drive and there are other distractions that lead to driver inattention. It’s important for drivers of all ages to remain focused while driving. Check out our Public-Rail Safety Guide (PDF) for tips on driving safely around the tracks and then take the quiz to see if you’ve got what it takes to stay alive.