back to article Satnav driver's car totalled by train

A 20-year-old student had a narrow escape when her satnav directed her to drive onto a remote level crossing, resulting in the unplanned destruction of the car by a train. According to the BBC, Paula Ceely had borrowed her boyf's satnav for a trip from Redditch, Worcestershire, to Carmarthenshire. She recounted: "Obviously I …

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  1. Anigel

    Yawn another satnav on so turn brain off story

    Satnav is not a replacement for looking where you are going despite all these users thinking it is an interface level compatible brain replacement

  2. Matt Brigden

    And they gave her a driving licence why exactly ?

    Common sense should of had her open both gates and drive thorugh .

    And how did she fail to notice a damn railway line ? . Not exactly the easiest thing to miss is it .

    Satnav users deserve everything they get . I use a mapbook . People that put blind faith in something along the lines of satnav are barmy .

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit rum to blame the satnav

    would it have been really different if she had been using a map?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glasses?

    Perhaps instead of SatNav she should borrow/buy some glasses next time. Train tracks - They're the big metal things in between the two gates, not there for decoration.

  5. Phil Rigby

    WTF?

    Ok, so she stopped, opened a closed gate, drove onto train tracks, then stopped again. Yeah I can totally see how the SatNav is to blame for that. Ever heard of an A-Z?

  6. Peter Hawkins

    RTFS (S - Sign)

    Ehhh... is it just me who sees the real problem here...

    "there was a little sign saying, if the light is green, open the gates and drive through"

    GATES, I mean if she'd done what it said there would be no problem. The sat nav got here to the right place, now if she had been smart enough to understand the sign....!

    Sheesh.. a near miss for the Darwins methinks

  7. John Browne

    FFS

    If you blindly follow your sat nav, get out of your car open the level crossing gate and then park your car on the tracks to close the gate behind you then I'm sorry but you deserve what you get.

    I love the line "If the light is Green open the gate". Now she never mentioned what colour the light was but we can assume as the gates were closed and a train was coming that the light probably wasn't green.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sad

    Do we live in an age where people just blidnly go forth.... without thinking....or is it just me?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What kind of dumb crossing is this?

    Is it just me or is the design of the crossing completely screwed up? Here in Canada if we have a crossing in a remote place and there's no automatic barrier, all we have is blinking lights and bells or a few speedbumps and a sign that says "railroad crossing". In any case, what kind of idiot designs something where it is physically possible to be trapped between gates on a railroad?

    Yes the girl is a twit who challenges even Paris Hilton for a title to something; but what's really at fault here is British engineering for designing such a deathtrap.

  10. William Donelson

    Yet Another Excuse - the dog ate my homework

    Jeez, people will blame ANYTHING and ANYONE except themselves.

    And idiot dorks just LOVE technology, because it offers their lazy minds plenty of excuses.

    She just wanted to blow away the car, that;s the real story.

  11. Cris Page

    Old News

    This happened weeks ago! It was front page news in our local rag, and even back then I wondered how the hell she managed to pass her driving test with such a woeful lack of knowledge of the highway code which does cover rail crossings.

    And just what has Sat Nav got to do with someone being stupid enough to stop a car on an unmanned crossing? The instructions at the crossings are clear enough, and common sense (Not supplied with satnav) surely tells you NOT to stop and faff around while parked across a rail line?

    She should be prosecuted for endangering the safety of the railway! And STILL the insurance industry tells us women are safer drivers!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What sort of crossing

    It sounds as if it was probably an accommodation crossing - effectively a private one not a public one. She would also have gone past a notice telling her to "Stop Look and Listen" and so on...

    http://www.translink.co.uk/resources2005/pdfs/Level%20Crossing%20(3)%20190407.pdf

  13. charlie wallace

    selective vision

    so she says the satnav didn't show the railway lines on whats presumably a 7inch screen on the car, yet she failed to notice actual railway lines with effective infinity resolution and screen size, so how exactly would it have helped having them on screen, and perhaps it was there after all.

    if it truely were darwin at work, the car would be fine and she'd be the one down the track.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sat nav wont fix incompetence

    Oh dear,

    The manner in which rail crossings are marked is something clearly explained in the highway code. Last time I looked I thought having a licence was something only granted after proving your ability to be safe and careful on the road. Clearly still a long way to go in development of driver standards then.

    If it looks like a train crossing, sounds like a train crossing, it is a train crossing.

    Sat nav clearly would clearly be doing the rest of us a great service if it were better developed to report idiots like this directly to the DVLA and revoke their licence for stupidity.

  15. Martin Rogers

    Women drivers safer - myth

    They're not. Per kilometre, they are slightly more likely to have an accident. Women get cheaper insurance because, on average, they drive far fewer miles than men - and therefore are less likely over a year to have an accident.

  16. Morely Dotes

    A blonde story?

    How in the name of Cthulu did this ditz read the road signs to find her way to this level crossing? Surely Satnav, even with voice recognition and speech synthesis, can't be advanced enough to permit illiterate morons to navigate hundreds or perhaps even thousands of yards without a keeper, can it?

    And BTW - there a significant difference between a "boyf" and "bumf?" Or is this more of El Reg trying to use "Cutelish" again?

  17. Blane Bramble

    Yup, all satnavs fault

    Mine is just as bad - doesn't tell me to stop at traffic lights, which side of the road to drive on, when to change gear, anything like that!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps they should sell special sat navs

    which randomly directs people over cliffs and such like - either people learn to trust eyes first or the problem will be resolved otherwise

  19. Michael

    Safer drivers?

    "And STILL the insurance industry tells us women are safer drivers!"

    Clearly they are! This woman is just doesn't know how to PARK safely...

    Right...I'll get my coat...

  20. pctechxp

    Now that's what I call 'thick as two short planks'

    Open both gates FIRST and then drive through.

    While I'm glad she escaped unhurt, I sincerely hope she leaves the education of her kids if she has any, to someone else as she doesn't seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy mistake to make

    Come on. You can't blame the girl.

    All she had to go on were a few subtle clues;

    Parallel closed gates, metal lines along the ground and a warning light with a notice. Anyone could miss the significance, couldn't they?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh FGS...

    How on earth can you blame satnav for that!

    I use satnav virtually everywhere, and I have never made such a silly mistake. The only mistake I once did was to follow my satnav down some little country lane. Since then I zoom out and check whether there's a reason for that, and take an alternative.

  23. Rob Strzelecki

    Beryg , drenau yn pasio!

    Well it's written in both languages!

    Extremely unlucky as only about 2 trains run along the line there a day and at a max of about 60mph.

  24. Nick

    GPS Signals cooked her two brain cells?

    My saying in life - Engage Brain before operating Hand or Mouth.

    I this would apply here. I still fail to understand how she couldn't notice the two dirty great lumps of iron under her feet. And what did she think, that she had to drive through a very narrow, but VERY long field?

  25. Neil Cooper

    Heh

    So she still blames the satnav (I'll never use satnav again) for not seeing the big railway line running in both directions.

    Amazing how creative stupid people become when finding a reason not to blame themselves.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    State of rail crossing?

    In the dark with a little mist I can well believe someone getting confused by the level crossing in the pdf linked above. It looks nothing like a level crossing. This is reminiscent of a station in Cambridgeshire which until recently required people to cross the tracks to buy a ticket and conveniently missed the detail that if there was a train stopped at the closer platform then there was physically no space to look around it for an oncoming train without putting your head in its path.

    Last I heard they responded to a death and subsequent reports of countless near-misses by installing a second ticket machine and promising to get around to putting a bridge in someday.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a short comment...

    "This is reminiscent of a station in Cambridgeshire which until recently required people to cross the tracks to buy a ticket and conveniently missed the detail that if there was a train stopped at the closer platform then there was physically no space to look around it for an oncoming train without putting your head in its path."

    Adding a traffic signal to indicate an incoming train would work too. Placing the crossing on the right end of the station so the incoming train would come from the unblocked direction would also work. A mirror placed across the crossing aimed at the blocked direction would be a great plus too. (and all 3 solutions are cheap compared to a bridge or an underpass)

    Btw. the problem with satnav is that people tend not to check the whole route, but only look for the turns while they travel. Checking the planned route like it was a map before starting the car would solve most issues. The rest is just plain stupidity.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the crap about 'women drivers'? - it's a M$ type situation

    This has nothing to do with the fact that the driver was female, although it's convenient for our misogynistic posters, it's a constant reminder that the more 'safety' and 'information' devices there are in cars the less people pay attention to where they are and road conditions. I don't remember the same type of crap language being used when males have problems with Sat-nav.

    Cars are behaving more like Window$ where you don't need to think about the machine or software use, just keep on clicking on things and the world is wonderful. All the hard work (thinking) is done for you.

    Don't worry about things crashing in to you as there is loads of protection. Don't worry about driving in to things as there are loads of devices to stop you skidding, keep the car in line etc. etc.

    The same people are blissfully using Vi$ta etc. totally at ease behind the Windows firewall and 'malicious software remover' and M$ Updates and those nice, friendly things like IE, Outlook and Messenger.

    The car and P.C. products are sold on the 'you don't need to think' basis.

    Men are just as gullible - possibly even more easy to con with technology than women as they can be easily swayed by fancy big letters instead of descriptions.

    Please don't come the 'women drivers!!' crap when you've just opened an e-mail about celebrity nudes or growing a bigger willy.

  29. David Urmston

    For heavens sake

    Aren't designers supposed to use risk mitigation when designing information systems ?

    Which if I remember correctly proposes the theory that you can't program the end user.

    Perhaps if they included the possibility that a real humans would be driving the vehicles, SatNav would be condidered a safety critical system and wouldn't be sitting on so many dashboards.

    As humans are so notoriously unpredictable, perhaps the system designers should include folks who can't read a map/drive a car as part of the design team, chimps spring to mind.

    Alf

  30. Vernon Lloyd

    Oh Well

    Simple logic:

    Give someone technology --> They think it is infalible --> They trust it --> It goes wrong --> Blame the technology

    If you put blind faith in technology then near misses and unavoidable deaths of cars etc will happen. Not to mention how damn lucky she is to still be alive. Maybe her God is a technophobe and saved her bacon.

    In my opinion sat navs are a waste of money and dangerous. On a recent trip to south London from Nottingham my mate who was driving had at least 7 near miss accidents because he was too busy looking at the sat nav and not the road ahead. The ironic thing is not only do we both know that area well he got stuck in a jam which I warned him about and refused to listen to a better and traffic free route because his 'sat nav' didn't display the jam.

    Long live the brain and common sense

  31. Planeten Paultje

    Surely this has to be an urban myth

    I mean, a railway crossing with gates on *both* sides that have to be operated *by hand*?!?!? NO WAY!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Driving Without Due Care and Attention?

    At least she's admitted the offence, so in no time at all PC Plod will be round her house (after paying due regard to the Sat-Nav directions) so she can "help the police with their enquiries" into the damage and danger to life she caused!

    Like everyone else I see the stupid/funny side of this, but we could be reading about a train derailment that killed people!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious signage of crossing

    The crossing in question was nothing like the one shown in the pdf above. In fact, it was littered with an abundance of signs and warnings as can be seen in this picture:

    http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/_images/db/42/91/LEVELCROSSING1.429125.full.jpg

  34. A J Stiles

    MWL crossing

    It's a "Miniature Warning Light" (MWL) level crossing. These are still in use in a few rural areas where the cost of employing a person to operate the crossing or installing automated barriers would be prohibitive for the amount of traffic using the crossing. The Highway Code also warns that some *really* isolated crossings do not even have the miniature warning lights; you're expected to rely on your own eyes, ears and brain.

    The wording on the signs at these crossings also does clearly say "open _both_ gates"; so if she only opened one, it's her own stupid fault. And the train company should be sending her the bill for any damage to their locomotive!

    We really ought to have a proper medical-sounding name for this "over-reliance on technology / blame tech for user's own shortcomings" syndrome.

    (As an aside, there was an old story that mapmakers would include deliberate inaccuracies only they knew about. Anyone copying their maps as opposed to making their own surveys would reproduce the inaccuracies. I wonder if the SatNav manufacturers are running afoul of this?)

  35. Felix

    very poorly designed crossing

    Speaking as someone from Canada, who has never driven in a place with crossings like that, I would call the signage (at both the crossing type in the PDF and the JPEG) *very* poor. I would probably notice the train tracks, but only because I notice more obscure things than most. Things wrong with the way these crossings are set up:

    - Nowhere on the "stop/look/listen" sign does it say "train." I think the words "Warning! Train!" would be *far* more effective. "stop/look/listen" actually implies a minor hazard (e.g. "wet floor"), since we're told to do that for everything nowadays. If I came across a sign like this unexpected, I would read through the entire thing and still have no idea what it's about (i.e. what am I stopping/looking/listening for?). I would think something along the lines of "OK, some moron put an elaborate and silly gate in the middle of nowhere" and I would feel as shocked as this woman to find train tracks in between the gates -- and my very next thought would be "Why the hell isn't this crossing marked?!" -- compare with a typical Canadian crossing: http://static.flickr.com/56/189128767_ef9841d123.jpg

    - The triangular railway sign in the JPEG is easily misinterpreted to mean "gate" or "fence" -- why are the tracks asymmetrical? It looks like a picket fence. It also should say "RAILWAY CROSSING" or something on it. That this sign is NOT present in the crossings in the PDF tells me that Britain has no universal sign for railway crossings. WTF? The crossing in the JPEG is actually made considerably more dangerous by the presence of the gates, because the gates obscure the view of the train tracks. The whole affair with the rickety second-hand traffic light looks cobbled together and not nearly important enough to imply trains -- compare another typical Canadian crossing: http://images.worldofstock.com/slides/TRT1383.jpg (I don't think I've ever seen an active crossing that didn't have those big, imposing-looking lights.)

    - Echoing a previous comment, why the heck are there latching, manually operated gates in front of these crossings anyway? The only explanation that comes to mind is that it's for livestock -- but still, in Canada we use cattle-guards (which you can drive over without having to get out of the car) for that kind of thing.

    For the record, I almost never side with the victim in cases like this -- but in this case I really feel that Britain has a huge railway safety issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

    ~Felix.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Baaaa

    Felix: there aren't many double gated crossings in use, but the main reason for leaving the few that remain (on minor roads in rural areas on two-train-a-day lines) is so that livestock can be driven across (with the two gates swung across the tracks to stop the beasties straying up the line). Which obviously means you can't use cattle grids.

  37. Roger Hughes

    Dunno about Canada but...

    ... in the UK we do this driving test thing in which you are tested, inter alia, on your ability to identify all the (international standard) signs for things like level crossings. That sign is in use at crossings pretty much everywhere from here to Vladivostok.

  38. Levi

    Women safer than men? Yes.

    "They're not. Per kilometre, they are slightly more likely to have an accident. Women get cheaper insurance because, on average, they drive far fewer miles than men - and therefore are less likely over a year to have an accident."

    Urban myths are wonderfully flexible things. Hard numbers not quite so:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16698153/

    If you excluded drink driving and 20-30 year old males, the numbers might or might not change (you and I both don't know) .. but we're talking averages here and on average men *are* more unsafe drivers than women. They are more likely to kill, and to be killed on the road.

    Personally, I'm an above average driver, can exceed speed limits and can drive while talking on a mobile phone all without increasing my risk of an accident -- but that's because I'm a man. This is also why speed cameras should apply only to women and not to me.

  39. Tim Bates

    Cattle grids

    You can use a cattle grid on the railway line too...

    Cost is the big thing though. Any change to a railway crossing is expensive. Even something as simple as a set of flashing lights would run to many thousands of US dollars (I am Aussie, but I figure most people know what a US dollar is worth).

    Out we I am we have hundreds of crossings with no protection. No lights, no gates, just a single sign on each side (Give Way sign with a train image under it). Maybe us country folk in Australia just know when to use our eyes and when not to park on the damn railway lines.

  40. ian

    Bimbo

    There's a picture of the bimbo here

    http://www.newswireless.net/index.cfm/article/3353

    Clearly she's been dying her hair.

  41. Shane McCarrick

    Title

    Felix-

    There is a sign to the left hand side of the gates as you approach, giving you directions on how to use the crossing (numbered 1 to 5). For low use crossings (where there may only be 2 or 4 trains a day), this is the most economic way of operating the system.

    S.

  42. Gavin

    Stop blaming the design

    Come on stop blaming the design, we shouldn't even need gates.

    There should just be lights like traffic lights, its your own damn stupid fault if you run it isn't it.

    we do too much protecting the stupid from themselves and they still manage to darwinise themselves with that.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SatNav

    Swimming at the shallow end of the gene pool. How did she ever make it to 20?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open mouth, disengage brain

    She should be more careful in her use of words - if the report is verbatim, she's opened herself up to some penalty points (quite rightly so) on a driving without due care rap.

    "If maybe I had been more aware of the situation, I wouldn't have had the accident."

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couple of points....

    First, the quote "I put my complete trust in the satnav and it led me right into the path of a speeding train. The crossing wasn't shown on the satnav, there were no signs at all, and it wasn't lit up to warn of an oncoming train."

    So, are we to expect that satnav's are now to include the timetables of every train in Europe just so it can work out EXACTLY where the stupid bint is in relation to the 10.42 from Euston to Cardiff?

    Secondly, Felix, the signage is perfectly adequate, as shown here -http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/26.htm which clearly dictates how one should approach a crossing of this type. All required signs and lights are in place, I believe. Also, just in case the she DID think the sign did mean that there was a particularly nice or even dangerous picket fence in the area then that can be cleared up here - http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/signs05.htm.

    She is only trying to blame the satnav for her own cranial shortcomings - something which is only going to become more common in the future, I fear.

    Good job this isn't the US - I'm quite sure someone else could be found to be blamed (and sued) on some spurious aspect of this sad, stupid and entirely avoidable episode somewhere....thank god nobody on the train died.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sat Nav?

    Why exactly is the sat nav being blamed for this? What does it even have to do with the story? It did its job perfectly well. It's not as though it said 'Stop in between the gates and park'. It isn't the satnav's fault if you get hit by a train following its directions. She must just be very stupid.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lucky!

    I think the lady driver should count her lucky stars the Sat Nav didn't point her off an outed bridge or cliff. You never know what might have happened!

    P.s. Silly Mare

  48. Daniel

    Hmmm...

    Found this on a site -

    No-one was injured when the Arriva Pembroke Dock to Swansea train ploughed into the car at around >>8pm<<, but Paula, who was left shaken by the crash, says that it's only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs at this location.

    Source -> http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/search/display.var.1224413.0.its_a_disaster_waiting_to_happen.php

    The article was posted on "10:10am Wednesday 28th February 2007" and stated that she was driving at 8PM (presumably the previous night) and so it was pretty dark at that time in february. So...

    Question: Why didnt she realise that this was a train crossing?

    Answer: Was there any street lighting? Doubt it! Add to the fact she would not have had any kind of "night vision" due to driving with headlights. No wonder she didnt see the tracks.

    Question: Was there a Crossing Blocked Signal?

    Answer: If a warning signal even existed, the Gates open outward, so would not cross the tracks causing any kind of signal down the track telling the train driver that the crossing was blocked.

    Question: How do we know the gates opened outward??

    Answer: She would not have been able to close the gate as the car would block the closing, unless the gates opened "at least" outward. This also lends to the credibility that she could have not seen tracks as she would not crossed over them yet, and in my experience train crossing barriers usually blocks the trains path.

    Question: With train tracks usually being straight (not 90 degree angles). How did the train driver miss seeing the car on the tracks?

    Answer: It was Dark!! and a Black clio would have been pretty hard to notice.

    Question: How did she not notice the warning lights, signalling an oncoming train?

    Answer: The train was travelling at 60mph, and could have been far from the crossing before she started to cross. Also once your on the tracks, the lights signifying a oncoming train are obscured by the retangular object next to them (sun shield??).

    Question: Why did she only open one gate at a time??

    Answer: No idea, prob just blonde. But as she didnt realise this was a train crossing why would she worry about getting across in one go??

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The highway code seems quite clear on this...

    From the link someone posted earlier:

    --- snip ---

    269: Some crossings have 'Stop' signs and small red and green lights. You MUST NOT cross when the red light is showing, only cross if the green light is on. If crossing with a vehicle, you should

    open the gates or barriers on both sides of the crossing

    check that the green light is still on and cross quickly

    close the gates or barriers when you are clear of the crossing.

    --- snip ---

    I hope she'll be losing her driving license until she can pass the theory test, and that she (or more likely her insurance) will be paying the expenses the railways have incurred because of her incompetence.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couple of more points....(same poster)

    Right, I've had enough of this nonsense...

    Daniel...you, sir, are a twat.

    8pm in February? Headlights on, do we think? Or was she using the Force?

    So she blindly following the satnav, is too thick to recognise the signage (as already cleared up) and stops at the gates. Lights on green or red? Who's to know - she certainly won't be answering THAT question!

    Anyway, the gates open outwards i.e. towards the car. How can I say that? Because if you LOOK at the picture, you can see the sodding hinges against the gatepost. So she opens the gates, gets back in the car and drives onto the crossing. I would of assumed that the tracks would of been picked up in the car headlights, or that she might of noticed them going back to close the gates, or EVEN again crossing both rails to open the other gates. But, alas, no.

    In response to why the train driver did not see the black Clio, I will graciously accept your answer, but as to why she did not see the warning lights - who knows. The law states that a minimum of 20 seconds should apply between the warning lights coming on and the train passing the crossing, so what was she doing for those 20 seconds? Texting her boyfriend? Doing her nails? Trying to remember how to open the car door?

    The facts of the matter are she is stupid, has no excuse and is trying to blame an inanimate object for her own failings.

    I notice there is considerable defense in your post - your're not her boyfriend, are you?

  51. This post has been deleted by its author

  52. James

    Getting too many crashes on Level-crossings for my liking

    I´m shocked that there are still so many level crossings out there that mean that so many people are led into danger by badly signed crossings like the one mentioned here. I think that the Government should step in and kick the backside of Network Rail in the trouble areas where crossings aren't signed properly.

    Either that, or as one ex-colleague once joked "it would be better if the whole rail network was tarmacked and allowed cars to run on the old routes instead.

    Admittedly that would mean that so many more cars would fill the newly created roads, but if it meant that "rail mentality" could be stamped out then it would make a lot of sense.

    It would get rid of the cost of maintenance of the powered sections of track, exhaustive engineer inspection carried out every week on 99% of all track on the public network.

    might mean that there would be less cars on the roads for a while though, due to more space used.

    Government should give it a thought...

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dumb and dumber

    It's just a sign of the times people. As more and more idiots watch more and more 'reality TV' they lose more and more practical skills. It will soon be time to plug these people in Matrix-style so they can enjoy their soma & TV without ever venturing into the 'wild' again.

  54. Daniel

    Title

    [quote]Right, I've had enough of this nonsense...

    Daniel...you, sir, are a twat.

    8pm in February? Headlights on, do we think? Or was she using the Force?

    So she blindly following the satnav, is too thick to recognise the signage (as already cleared up) and stops at the gates. Lights on green or red? Who's to know - she certainly won't be answering THAT question!

    Anyway, the gates open outwards i.e. towards the car. How can I say that? Because if you LOOK at the picture, you can see the sodding hinges against the gatepost. So she opens the gates, gets back in the car and drives onto the crossing. I would of assumed that the tracks would of been picked up in the car headlights, or that she might of noticed them going back to close the gates, or EVEN again crossing both rails to open the other gates. But, alas, no.[/quote]

    1) Sir/Madam post with your name!

    2) To open the gate she would have to move the car back a fair way, as the gate swings out. Then could have only notice the tracks once moved onto them. Add to fact the boyfriend stated it was raining (unproven), which also helps hinder her vision.

    3) We also dont know which side she was coming from. There looks like a T-Junction one side (Ref 1) and the other side is a long straight road (Ref 2). I did look on google maps but didnt find any indication of a t-junction, google didnt recognise Ffynongain, but there is a Ffynongain Road (Searching for St Clears).

    Ref 1: http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/_images/db/42/91/LEVELCROSSING1.429125.full.jpg

    Ref 2: http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/_images/db/42/91/LEVELCROSSING2.429124.full.jpg

    People could be assuming that she was crossing on the side the totalled car had been left...

    4) As to the boyfriend idea, I just like to think about both sides before making judgement, and to be honest only her and the train were there that night and unless she confesses, we only have conjecture.

    5) Its always fun to be columbo.

  55. 2shane

    Well Ohhh Duhhhh

    I used to work in the railways repairing locomotives that have punched holes through semi's (big rigs) at level crossings...

    More often than not, it was a simple case of running out with a tin of paint and a brush...

    Locomotive 1. Truck / Car / people / live stock etc. 0.

    So I tend to get hysterically angry and want to scream at people... "How can you be soooo fucking stupid????"

    When a big 120 tonne diesel loco, with 2000 tones of freight behind it, hits a car.. it's much the same as a BIG 22lb sledge hammer, hitting a little flat tin of sardines.

    The light weight passenger trains are not that much less effective....

    Really.

    She should be dragged out and have the crap beaten out of her with a big stick.

    Stupid.

    This is as kind as I can get.

  56. jon

    silly bint

    nuff said

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done Renault

    So you can smash the front off a Clio with a 200 ton train and the windscreen still remains intact?

    How about that for structural integrity? Surely that's an example of excellent design - perhaps they have blondes (relax ladies, I am blond) in France too.

  58. Owain

    Just a few minor points.

    Living about 500 yards from the crossing, I have a few answers for all of you.

    1. Yes there is lighting on that crossing from the side she was coming from.

    2. The tracks are perfectly visible from the road, whether it's raining, night or day as they are raised slightly in the manner of most railway lines.

    3. Yes the gates open outwards, but that in itself suggests that both should be opened, thick cow.

    4. The car could not be seen early enough by the train as the line goes round a corner from both directions, and they generally go through this area at around 70mph.

    5. The lights signalling oncoming trains are placed about 3/400 metres away from the crossing (around the bend) so as to leave enough time for the train to slow down.

    6. The crossing is designed as it was back in the early days of rail travel in the UK, it was safe then, it is safe now - it's only that people like this stupid woman don't have any common sense that these accidents happen.

    7. The photo that most of you are looking at is from the oppoisite direction to that which she was travelling. The signs from that side are not as noticible, however, still clearly state that it is a railway crossing and that you must open BOTH gates (it says both in capitals) before crossing.

    8. The line is the main line between Cardiff and Fishguard. It has about two trains every hour so whoever said "two-trains-a-day" needs to look up his facts first.

    9. The original article in the local rags, and from what one of the Network Rail blokes told me (who had been called out of his cosy home to check the train over before it went on its way), she originally claimed that she had got confused, and took the road because it was raining (which it was, by the way). No mention was made either to the network rail guy who was there that night, nor in the paper, of the SatNav until over two weeks later after a much more serious accident occured in England.

    10. Has anybody considered how many people actually use that crossing? Shall I tell you? Ok, I will: It is not a private crossing, as some have suggested, it is a public crossing, and it shaves off about 2 minutes off a different route if, and I say this with extreme emphasis, you have another person with you to open the gates, and it is clear weather(which she didn't, and it wasn't). In that situation she would have been at her boyfriend's village in about half an hour maximum, rather than the 2 or 3 hours it probably actually took her after her act of stupidity. The crossing is used only by two groups of people, A) locals, and B) Tourists following their satnavs. And for you Americans out there acting all high and mighty saying that you would have taken the shorter route... I happen to know that a large percentage of the tourists that use that crossing are Americans, and ALL of them ignore the signs, and seem to think that it is only a siding. I have once sat by the crossing, and seen an american sit on the tracks watchin a pretty bird further down the line. How do I know he was American? He was from L.A. visiting the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne.

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