Do you put your car in “Park” when stopped by a train?

The other day I was coming upon a railroad crossing with a few cars ahead of me. This event will usually harken me back to saying in my head “Eighty-eight. Red Ball Freight,” but that’s another plight for another time. This time the crossing lights started flashing, the gates came down, and I whispered to myself, “Shit. Train. Now I’m going to be late.” As the line of cars approached the lowered gates, and the train was ambling by, I took my spot and put my car in “Park.” Sitting back, looking at my iPhone to kill some time, I finally glanced up and noticed that the brake-lights were still glowing a bright red on the car in front of me. There I was, relaxing, foot off the pedals, just waiting for the train to go by, and I tried to think back to when I was taught to put my car in park at a train crossing when waiting for the train. I’m going to guess it was my Mom or Dad who instilled this habit as usually, back in those days when parents had to entertain their kids and not leave them in the back seat with an iPad to play with or video to watch, getting stopped by a train usually meant waving at the engineer out the window, counting how many train cars there were, admiring the various types of train cars, and eagerly waiting for the caboose . It wasn’t like there was any hurry to get back across the crossing, I mean, you still had to wait for the gates to go back up which left plenty of time to put the car back in “Drive,” but for me it also, always, seemed safer to put the car in “Park” while waiting for the train to go by. For whatever reason I just always saw badness happening if you didn’t put your car in “Park,” like your foot would slip off the brake pedal and onto the gas, and if you were the lead car, there you were, smashing through the gates and slamming into the side of the train.

Eventually the train finally made its pass, I observantly watched the car in front of me to see if maybe they just were extra safe with their foot on the brake and car in “Park,” but alas there was no “flash” of the “reverse” lights. I envisioned, one day, that driver screwing up and slamming into the side of a passing train when their foot slipped, and then plighted to myself: Do you put your car in “Park” when stopped by a train?

That’s it for this plight! I”m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!