Railroad crossings are very dangerous and present a high potential for collisions. When collisions between automobiles and trains happen, the resulting injuries are almost always tragic and frequently fatal. Railroad crossing accidents can be caused by various factors, including advancing a train without sounding the proper warning whistles or failing to properly mark the crossing or put up gates.

Many railroad crossings are maintained in an unsafe condition without gates, guards, bells, lights, whistle posts, or without providing an adequate warning to cars and pedestrians. Some crossings do not allow for clear visibility of an oncoming train because of overgrown shrubs, trees, or buildings. Other railroad crossings consist of uneven pavement over the railroad crossing, which makes crossing the tracks extremely hazardous.

Other factors causing railroad injuries include excessive train speeds and failure to sound train whistles. Engineers do whatever is necessary to make up lost time. Their speeds have often been recorded in excess of 80 miles an hour when approaching crossings, especially in small-town areas.