Trams always win in collisions with cars

In cities where trams share the road with cars, they can be involved in collisions when cars swerve into their lanes. The only option a driver of a tram has to prevent a collision is to brake. But since the tram is so much heavier than a car, the occupants of the tram feel only a slight impact. Both those factors may explain the calm manner in which tram drivers respond to car drivers trying to cut them off.


  1. John Morales says


    As a bike (motorbike) rider, I am very much aware of these issues and these outcomes.

    (Car drivers, not-so-much, usually they are the moving obstacle)

  2. John Morales says

    Also, tramlines in the wet are nasty.

    (Bikes have a very small contact patch)

  3. says

    I once saw that in Cologne, Germany. A British tourist had taken a wrong left turn, and the tram seemingly rammed the car sideways into the street. The mountings of both left wheels snapped of, and the left side of the car’s chassis touched the ground as a result.

  4. says

    As a cyclist and motorist I like trams because of their entirely predictable trajectory. Other cars, not so much.

    @ John Morales, it’s not the size of the contact patch that counts but the limited number of contact patches. A car with 4 points of contact is simply less likely to have a stability problem on a wet tram line than a bike with only 2. Crossing a tram line should only be attempted with the bike vertical, not turning.

  5. lochaber says

    As a long-time pedestrian/bicyclist/motorcyclist, I have to admit I found some schadenfreude watching this.

    It’s nice to see the idiot finally suffer the consequences of their idiocy.

    Hell, just a couple hours ago, I was nearly hit in a crosswalk by some idiot driver too busy conversing with their passenger to look at what’s in front of them.

  6. blf says

    I was in a tram once, standing directly behind the driver’s compartment (which had a window you could see through, so I had an close-up view of what happened), when the tram almost collided — with another tram. The N-bound tram I was inside was approaching a stop (so it was already slowing down) when, for reasons I don’t know, it “jumped” onto the crossover rail which connected the N-bound line with the S-bound line. These crossovers are obviously used to shunt trams around obstructions and the like.

    There happened to be an S-bound tram stopped at the stop at that time. Our N-bound driver swore loudly and braked hard (causing people, me included, to lurch forward (we had warning due to noise and bump of the tram jumping onto the crossover, no-one was hurt as far as I know)), enter the S-bound track, and come to a stop less than a metre from the front of the still-stopped S-bound tram.

    Nothing else — that was it — except for an amusing incident some minutes later. Our stopped tram also happened to be blocking a minor road crossing, so you’ve guessed it: Some eejit of a car driver turned into the road, stopped, got annoyed his route was blocked by an obviously-disabled tram, and starting blowing his horn. I left about then to catch a bus to complete my journey as some other passengers started to give the eejit a firm-talking to.

    That was in Montpellier France. Then there was the incident with the railway torpedo in Dublin Ireland, but that’s for some other time…

  7. springa73 says

    Around where I live, lots of drivers are pretty foolish, but so are a lot of pedestrians and cyclists. I feel lucky not to have been involved in an accident in many years, though I’ve had my share of close calls.

  8. Jenora Feuer says

    A friend of mine was actually involved in an accident between a passenger train and a car that had stalled on the tracks. He was on the train, and probably wouldn’t have even known if the train hadn’t had to come to a stop for the investigation.

    (Nobody was hurt; the driver of the car at least bailed out once he realized the car itself was stuck.)

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