A GPS app can either be a person’s best friend or worst enemy. In 2018, many on Long Island have discovered following GPS apps to the T is dangerous.
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) just announced that so far in 2018, there have been 21 incidents of people turning on railroad tracks while following GPS app directions. These incidents cannot be primarily blamed on the app since the driver is supposed to be alert and have their eyes on the road.
When Using A GPS App Turns Deadly
On March 23rd, 2018 in Mineola, New York, a car was struck by an LIRR train. The vehicle burst into flames after being hit at the Willis Avenue high-speed crossing. The driver just barely escaped before the train struck the vehicle. Eyewitnesses of the incident said that it was a complete shock but it’s a common occurrence that cars turn on those tracks.
So, what exactly happened? Well, the woman driving the car was following her GPS directions at night and turned onto the train tracks. Thankfully, this woman’s mistake of trusting the app didn’t cost anyone their lives. But what happens the next time something like this occurs? The driver and people on the train may not be so lucky.
Here’s a short clip of the incident aftermath:
EXCLUSIVE: Car is dragged by #LIRR commuter train, bursts into flames. Source tells me driver mistakenly followed GPS onto the tracks and escaped her car just before impact. Main Line service suspended through tonight. Repairs may be complete by morning. pic.twitter.com/gVWniDbNQ9
— N. J. Burkett (@njburkett7) March 24, 2018
What’s Being Done About It
In light of the 21 GPS-related train track incidents on Long Island, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and LIRR are doing something about it. White stripes and flexible poles are being placed at 300 crossings so drivers can clearly see the tracks day and night. These updates should be complete by the end of 2018.
To prevent this from happening nationwide, GPS apps could do a better job of defining where railroad crossings are and decreasing map image lag. Learn more about the incidents here and watch the video below.
It’s great to see that the MTA and LIRR are taking action to prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future. These changes should definitely reduce the number of incidents, but cannot improve people’s awareness on the road. All that you can do to be safe on the road is be alert, be smart, and don’t turn on railroad tracks!
Want to make sure a family member isn’t driving on the tracks? Monitor their location using an iPhone or Android spy app.