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A compilation of cars getting hit by the light rail trains in Houston

Jul 7, 2012 By Abraham

From 2004 to 2009, the light rail trains in Houston collided with 245 vehicles. That’s almost one a week. This video from 2009 documents many of these accidents.

I imagine measures have been taken since then to improve this atrocious trend. Any Houstonians care to share?

(via Cynical-C)


  1. Cajun Maverick says:

    If you look at the signs in the video, cars are not supposed to turn left on the roads with light rail unless they are travelling in the light rail lane They’ve also installed flashing lights on the street to help motorists see another set of red lights. Still, people in Houston don’t know how to drive.

  2. Liam Dillon says:

    Wow, guys. Mirrors. Look at all of them, then turn. It’s really not hard. Even with a blind spot you shouldn’t be able to miss a bloody train!

  3. Blaine says:

    The video title makes it sound like it’s the light rail’s fault. Title should read. “Drivers in Houston are idiots.”

    1. Michael says:


      I think though, as this is texas, the solution to the problem is to install a bunch of rocket launchers in the trains, that way at least they won’t get held up and the cleanup should be easier as there will only be microscopic particles left to dust up.

  4. dsimathguy says:

    Look. There are bad drivers everywhere. The only reason this has the most accidents is because “It runs through 7 miles of city streeets”. Texas drivers are not worse than all of the rest of the drivers in the world, they just have to deal with massive trains blocking 7 miles of what used to be open roads.

    So please, stop calling everyone in Houston a bad driver, becasue I am sure at least 1 of you would have done the exact same thing if you were in Houston.

    1. JB says:

      You’re too funny. “Massive trains…” Every one of those wrecks are vehicle driver error. The train doesn’t make unexpected turns, it follows the rails. I’ve driven there, and I can tell you for a fact that they are easy to see.

      1. Shaun says:

        Right! I can imagine what they were thinking. *driving along* “Crap, I need to turn left” *swerves left* *smash* “Officer that train just came out of nowhere, it’s like spotting a whale in a pond, impossible to see”

  5. Shaun says:

    I don’t think I’d make that mistake…how can someone NOT see a TRAIN, a train, not a motorcycle or another car, a ***** train. All you have to do is look in your mirror just like you would any other time when you change lanes and read the signs.

    Here in KC there are signs all over for no left turn, one way streets, stop lights randomly placed. When you drive you HAVE to pay attention. Driving a car and not using your mirrors or signals is like waving around a loaded gun with your finger on the trigger and the safety off. Those dumb-asses deserved to get hit.

  6. snarky pants says:

    And what does MSP go and do???? Build the same kind of system – right on the city streets….

    1. John M says:

      You could probably count on one hand how many accidents happen a year with the light rail in MSP.

  7. General says:

    I’ve never driven in Houston but it scares me to see that one car is in the left turn lane (see the arrow painted between the rails) and got hit by the train from the rear.

    1. Chelsi says:

      Ditto. Can someone explain how that works? Someone above said, “If you look at the signs in the video, cars are not supposed to turn left on the roads with light rail unless they are travelling in the light rail lane.”

      What about the person who was already in that lane and the light rail smashed them from behind? Were they not supposed to be there or what? There was a left turn arrow right in that lane.

    2. slayerwulfe says:

      i watched several times and did not see any vehicle being hit from behind that had an established position in the far left which is the rail lane. in what part of the video does this take place?

  8. Mark says:

    I would absolutely love to drive this train, I think I’d do it for less than minimum wage if it meant hitting drivers who are incapable of driving. All of these are driver failures, I think I’d love hitting them.

  9. missy @ it's almost naptime says:

    I live in Houston. I don’t live downtown so I have only ridden the rail once. Keep in mind that pedestrians have also been hit.

    Houston is a city of cars. We were not built with public transport in mind. The city is incredibly spread out and the central area is too expensive for most people to live in. It is hotter than hades here, so no one wants to wait for a bus, so if you can afford two pennies to rub together you purchase a car. We below sea level so supposedly subways are not an option. And gas is cheap in Texas.

    Therefore we had very little public transport system to speak of – only Metro buses which, with the exception of some commuter buses, have the reputation of being something that only indigent people use.

    So Houston decides to build this light rail through downtown. As I recall, most of the city was against it. It literally caused some new businesses in our just-becoming-popular downtown to go out of business due to construction.

    So you took a city that had no public transport of this kind and put in in the middle of downtown IN THE CITY STREETS and used very bad signage. Of course there have been accidents. It is easy to get hit – the rail is very fast, and if you are stuck in an intersection waiting to turn when it comes upon you, you’re toast.

    Every time I do drive downtown where the light rail is, I am extremely nervous. I am always afraid that I am going to get hit and I find myself on the rail lines inadvertantly and freak out. Now I’m fairly intelligent, but I am unfamiliar with the area and the rail has awful signs. It seems like you are just driving down the street and then OOPS you’re on the rail line.

    I don’t think that Houston has bad drivers, as a matter of fact. We drive everywhere every day so we are probably more experienced than the majority of the rest of the country. But as someone who drives near the rail line with my heart in my throat, I think it is due to very poor planning on the part of the city.

    1. Leslie says:

      Ditto what Missy said. The big issue is that the light rail is in the middle of a very busy road. The light rail lane is also the left turn lane, so drivers have to be in that lane to turn left. This goes right through the very busy medical center area, already prone to traffic mishaps. They do have flashing lights when it is coming, but it’s a very busy street. Like Missy, it makes me nervous to drive around it especially if I know I’ll be turning left and have to be in the left turn lane to do so. There are bad drivers, but this was also poorly designed.

      1. slayerwulfe says:

        well said the left lane is the safest place to be as the Metro is nothing more than a passenger vehicle that is equipped with brakes. if you need to make a left turn ride the rail lane for a hundred yards if you have to.

    2. Marci says:

      I went to college at a University an hour outside of Houston and I completely agree. Also, I think something people forget is that a lot of people that drive in that area are from out of town. I once went to visit my grandmother in the hospital in and I felt the same thing: completely paranoid that I was going to hit or get hit by one of those trains. But don’t forget Missy, it’s much easier for people on the internet to call others “stupid” and “bad drivers” than to stop and think about the situation that you pointed out. ; )

      1. Michael says:

        Sorry but in many parts of the world LRT and cars share the road without the wanton destruction that seems to be happening in Houston. So either they build it completely different OR drivers in Houston really are completely clueless about driving.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    The one time that I was stuck on the tracks, the light rail hit its breaks until I was able to move. Have they not always had breaks? Or have past conductors just been more aggressive then the one I had a run in with?

  11. David R says:

    Two Solutions:

    1. Use the video cam to ticket every driver that turns in front of the train, whether they get hit or not.
    2. Put a rubberized, extended cowcatcher system on the front of the train.

  12. Jess says:

    I worked in downtown Houston every (week)day for 18 months. I almost got hit by the train ONCE and it was not my fault. It wasn’t the train’s fault either, there is very poor signage downtown and it is easy to miss or misunderstand these signs. Houston drivers are MUCH better drivers than those in Dallas and Austin (I have lived in both of these cities as well), but they can’t predict when a train might be coming if no warning is given, or no signs are around.

    I am sure I could have been featured on that video as a near miss and it would have looked like my fault, but I didn’t run a red light, I turned left on a green. The train was going straight, but was not coming towards me but was actually part of the cross traffic (where the cars were sitting at a red light). I am sure there were signs somewhere warning me of trains but I didn’t see them. Instead I saw a train coming at my side and hit the gas.

  13. Megatron4000 says:

    This video is proof that there is no shortage of idiots on the Houston roads. I drive behind people like this everyday.

  14. SomeGuy says:

    No matter whose fault it is, with 245 accidents, the whole system should be redesigned in favour of a better one. At least better signposted, and have some kind of crossing guards.

  15. Meesha says:

    Yeah, living in Houston, this hasn’t changed. It is confusing, but to remedy that, I just don’t turn or even get in that lane. There’s ways around it. Besides, the bus with UH-DOWNTOWN labeled on it’s LED reader is the best bus in town…don’t take the rail! Lmao.

  16. bbweis says:

    In italy, the crossing gates cover the entire path and there’s no going round them… Also, they go down about 15 minutes before the train goes past. Hence, no trains crashing into cars. Italy may be socialist and nearly bankrupt, but they do have some better ideas than we do..

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