Driving through the Magic Valley, a few things can frustrate people and make it slightly dangerous. Having a speed limit of 80 miles per hour can lead to dangerous crashes if something goes wrong. With many two-lane roads, people get impatient and speed around slow trucks or tractors, which can lead to dangerous results. These are just some of the dangerous activities on the road, without the typical ones that take place in town. Driving anywhere can be dangerous, but there is a specific thing that nobody seems to mention that is dangerous in the area and needs to be addressed. If drivers aren't paying attention, they could find themselves blindsided in the Magic Valley.

Danger in the Magic Valley

Credit: Russ Ward on Unsplash
Credit: Russ Ward on Unsplash

Driving through some of the smaller towns in the Magic Valley, it is important to be alert when driving and cautious. There are train tracks that run through these small towns, but one thing happens to be missing. While there are blinking lights at the tracks, as your approach them, many of these locations do not have gates that come down to stop a car from crossing over. Not having those gates can lead to dangerous outcomes if a driver is not paying attention, or decides to try and beat the train, with nothing stopping them. It may seem obvious to stop, but the blinking lights are not the easiest to see, and if a car and a train get into a game of chicken, more times than not the train is going to win.

Railroad Crossings in the Magic Valley

Credit: Jad Limcaco on Unsplash
Credit: Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

There are multiple areas across Highway 30 and around Twin Falls that cross the railroad tracks in the area but do not have gate arms to come down to stop traffic. Over the last week I have stopped at these stops three times, and each time the only warning is a blinking light on the side of the road and the horn of the train. These lights are easy to miss if looking in another direction, a vehicle blocking your sight, or the way the sun is shining. The horn would be easy to miss as many people drive on the phone or with headphones in, making it easy to ignore. Gate arms should be mandatory at all railroad crossings and the fact they are not there is a little disturbing. The county or the towns the crossings are in should be able to insert gate arms at the crossings, and not doing so is endangering the lives of the residents. Why let something so simple not be inserted to ensure the safety of the residents, and why leave it to chance that somebody could lose their life when it can easily be prevented?

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While it may seem small, somebody in Twin Falls County needs to make sure that gate arms are in place at railroad crossings. I understand it costs money, but the safety of the residents in Twin Falls should be worth the cost. Yes, there isn't a ton of traffic, and the trains do go decently slow when approaching these crossings, but to leave something to chance that could easily be resolved seems irresponsible by those in charge. Be careful when approaching any railroad crossings in the area, and make sure to check for flashing lights and listen for train horns. As long as there are no gate arms to stop you from crossing these railroads, it is on you to make sure you are safe and aware of your surroundings. 

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