This Violent In-Car Video Shows What It’s Like to Get Hit by a Train

Did that fake baby just fly out the window?

byJames Gilboy|
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Trains and cars aren't meant to cross paths, and when they do, the results are pretty ugly. A massive force of steel meeting your vehicle (and body) invariably results in gruesome injuries or deaths, but typically the latter. Now, you can get a glimpse of what it's like to endure one of these crashes without—you know—actually enduring one of these crashes.

For public safety (and possibly own amusement), the North Carolina Department of Transportation organized a demonstrative collision between a Dodge Charger and a locomotive owned by the Aberdeen Carolina & Western Company. Inside the car was an adult-sized crash test dummy, and an approximately child-sized doll. Of course, a variety of cameras were installed inside and outside of the Charger to document the crash.

The crash goes as planned, with the locomotive broadsiding the Charger on the driver's side as it crosses the tracks. Though on this occasion the car was pushed aside, some collisions between trains and cars result in the car becoming wrapped around the front of the locomotive, doing further damage to the vehicle and its occupants.

So you get an idea of the forces at work in this crash, consider the weight of the sixth-generation Dodge Charger used for the demo—around two tons—versus that of the EMD GP40 locomotive that hit it, which weighs around 125 tons. That's about twice the weight of an M1 Abrams tank. Scale the crash down to the weight of a single, 150-pound person, and it'd be like being hit by a Ram 3500 Heavy Duty that's towing a trailer. And in this case that's just the weight of a single locomotive; most trains often weigh somewhere between 1,500 and 6,000 tons, with the biggest long-haul trains going as high as 18,000.

According to 2018 numbers, about half of collisions between trains and cars in 2018 resulted in injuries or death, so you're rolling the dice by trying to save a couple of minutes on your way to work.