Driving instructor killed in crash with train, student barely escaped

Paramedics and a police officer at the scene of an incident (Stock photo: Politie). (Paramedics and a police officer at the scene of an incident (Stock photo: Politie))

A 66-year-old driving instructor from Amersfoort was killed in a collision between his car and a train in Bussum on Tuesday. His student, an 18-year-old girl from Bussum, managed to get out of the car and off the tracks just in time.

The accident happened around 11:15 a.m. on a rail crossing on Herenstraat, according to the police. The driving instructor died at the scene. None of the 140 passengers in the train were injured. Another train took them to their destination.

The cause of the accident is still unclear. According to NOS, the rail crossing is equipped with lights and booms. The police are investigating.

A video of the accident shows that the girl got out of the car and off the tracks just seconds before the train hit, AD reports after seeing the video. The accident happened just a few meters away from the girl. She was treated for shock afterwards, according to the newspaper.

The accident disrupted train traffic around Bussum for a large part of the day. The train tracks did not sustain much damage. "But that is not very important", a spokesperson for ProRail said to NOS. According to the spokesperson, this crossing is not known to be dangerous. This was the first accident on the crossing since 1999. 

Why the driving instructor did not also get out of the car when his student did, is not clear. "In danger, everyone can basically react in three primitive ways: flight, flee or freeze", traffic psychologist Gerard Tertoolen said to AD. "The first one makes little sense here, the woman did the second one, and the third must have happened to the man. Crazily enough, we often see this in traffic, like with ambulances with sirens. Many people simply do not move aside. You would say those are assholes. But many people just freeze. They do not quickly know what to do."