If you’ve ever been shocked to find yourself staring down a Prius you never saw or heard coming, you can relate to the Auckland, New Zealand pedestrian pictured above. The unidentified woman was inches away from appearing in Auckland’s obituaries instead of its general news section.
Security cameras near a pedestrian crossing at New Zealand’s Mt Eden station Friday captured the woman and her narrow escape from a meeting with death. In her defense, the electric train's lack of a combustion engine probably made it incredibly silent. Unlike hybrid cars, trains traveling on New Zealand’s KiwiRail max out at 110 kilometers per hour or about 70 miles per hour—meaning the woman in question would’ve likely been dead on impact if she didn’t speed up to avoid the potential collision. There’s also the matter of the flashing lights and what we can presume was some type of audible warning system.
“We’ve checked the footage of this morning’s incident and we can see the woman checked to her right before crossing but not to her left and that’s where the train was coming from,” Auckland Transport rail services manager Craig Inger told The New Zealand Herald.
According to reports, deaths on railway tracks, tunnels, and bridges have accounted for 100 casualties in New Zealand over the last 10 years.
It’s unclear if the woman was wearing earbuds underneath her hoodie or merely forgot to pay attention to the train’s warning system. As public policy is enacted stateside in response to a call for greener forms of private and public transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required a 2016 “quiet car” safety standard. The standard called for electric and hybrid vehicles traveling under 19 miles per hour to “make audible noise” in the form of a simulated engine sound.
That said, you can’t pass a law requiring the use of common sense judgment or the old fashion wisdom of looking both ways at traffic crossings.