ALARMING footage of a police car being hit by a freight train has reminded motorists of the dangers of level crossings.
The officer was lucky to walk away from the wreck with only minor injuries after the massive cargo train sent his large SUV tumbling onto its roof.
Filmed by two motorists in Texas, USA, footage shows two Sheriff’s vehicles waiting at the railway crossing with their blue lights flashing.
The lead SUV creeps forward as one train passes, and starts to move onto the tracks while red warning lights are still flashing.
Unfortunately, the officer doesn’t realise another train is coming in the opposite direction on a parallel set of tracks.
The front left tyre and bonnet of the SUV is hit by the fast-moving train, sending the car spinning sideways before flipping onto its roof.
The collision was witnessed by a number of onlookers, who were relieved it wasn’t more serious.
Motorist Mike Lopez told CBS7: “I guess he just didn’t see the other train and the train just hit him head on.
“A couple more seconds and he would have been gone. Other than that, it was pretty crazy seeing it right here in front of us.”
According to local reports, the officers were responding to an emergency call involving an infant with breathing issues – which explains why they were so eager to get over the crossing.
Other emergency personnel reached the child, who was reportedly taken to hospital.
But despite the good intentions of the Sheriff, the incident sends a reminder to drivers to always wait until warning signals have stopped and the path is entirely clear before moving onto a level crossing.
Rebecca Ashton, IAM RoadSmart Head of Driver Behaviour, said: “Level crossings need to be taken very seriously, they can be dangerous places if not used correctly.
“Network Rail have made improvements to crossings to keep all road users safe but if these rules are ignored or abused, lives will be put at risk.
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“Knowing what to do and never taking risks at crossings is vital to road safety, although incidents are decreasing there are still too many cases of level crossing abuse.
“Allowing an extra five minutes on your journey if you know there will be a level crossing would take any time frustrations away.
“Never try to squeeze through at the last minute and ignore warning signs – no journey is worth the risk of being involved in an incident with a train.”