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Police: Pennsylvania woman says she drove down railroad tracks because of GPS instructions

Amtrak's California Zephyr passes a Union Pacific train along the tracks during its daily 2,438-mile trip to Emeryville/San Francisco from Chicago that takes roughly 52 hours on March 24, 2017 in Green River, United States. President Trump has proposed a national budget that would terminate federal support for Amtrak's long distance train services, which would affect the California Zephyr and other long distance rail lines run by Amtrak. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Pennsylvania woman told Duquesne Police drove her car down a set of railroad tracks because of instructions from her GPS.

Fortunately, she lived to tell about it.

What happened?

Police found the freewheeling driver after responding to a report of "a vehicle on the railroad tracks" around 10 p.m. Wednesday near Grant Avenue and State Route 837 in Duquesne, according to a Facebook post by the department.

The woman, who is from Sewickley but was not named, told an officer her "GPS advised her to go this way." Sewickley is about 15 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

"The GPS told me to do it..."read the intro for the police department's Facebook post.

One of comments states: "I am not familiar but I am sure GPS didn't say make a left then a sharp left or make a right then a sharp left...Once she made that turn she would have know you can't turn there."

Responding to to the comment, police wrote: "Just to be clear. This vehicle was going straight on the highway and veered off. There was no turn involved here."

Police also wrote: "The female was 100% sober and had no medical conditions affecting her decision-making."

In exchange for the stunt, the woman's vehicle was towed from the tracks and she received a ticket for careless driving.

How dangerous is this?

It's safe to say that most people know driving on railroad tracks is bad idea.

But to spell it out, the website for Operation Lifesaver – Rail Safety Education lists some of the things drivers and pedestrians should consider around train tracks.

Freight trains, for example, have no set schedules and can  pass through a highway-rail intersection at any time.

Additionally, walking (or driving) on train tracks is illegal because it’s trespassing on private property and is “highly dangerous.”

The speed and sheer weight of a train means that stopping one can take more than a mile or about the length of 18 football fields. It is virtually impossible for a train to stop fast enough to avoid a collision.

The average locomotive weighs about 400,000 pounds or 200 tons and they can weigh up to 6,000 tons, the website states. Essentially, the weight ratio of a car to a train is equal to a soda can to a car.

Trains are also always “closer, moving faster, than you think," the website states.

One last thing…
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