Carlos asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 9 years ago

# Can you die from peeing on the third rail?

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• 9 years ago

Can you imagine if just when you're peeing a train comes and hits you. Oh yes you die

• 9 years ago

Probably not, no. But then why take a chance with such an important part of your anatomy...?

**EDIT**

The rules governing railway operations always err slightly on the side of caution and will tell you not to do something that COULD be risky. Therefore you are told not to direct any jets of water onto the 3rd rail because of the risk that you will cause a short circuit back along the stream of water and through your body to earth.

Peeing on the 3rd rail is a slightly different matter. While your pee initially comes out as a constant stream, the further it travels from your body the more this stream breaks up into droplets. Therefore there will be lots of gaps in your pee that the electricity will have to jump in order to reach you, which means that it is by no means certain that you'll be harmed let alone killed.

However, as I said above, why take the risk? Are you angling for a Darwin Award? Just because it is not certain it doesn't mean that it isn't a risky thing to try and you could do yourself a lot of harm proving the matter one way or the other.

Source(s): UK train driver
• 5 years ago

The one thing everyone fails to mention in this age old misconception is that voltage and current are DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to each other based on the resistance. Assume a common resistance your body will have, which is generally high (unless you are soaked in saltwater or urine) the more voltage equals the more current. Both high voltage is as dangerous as high current because they are related. A low voltage supply may be able to supply high current but will only let out enough current to satisfy the resistance of a circuit. For example a car battery has low voltage and is capable of high current (100+ amps). If I put my hands on either end a whole big nothing will happen because my resistance is way too high for the voltage to draw anything significant. The static shock mentioned by earlier is a bad example because it is only built up static energy. Feel that little shock? That is causing bodily harm, resistance is not high enough to protect you. You are safe because it dissipates almost instantaneously, it does not many a big charge. If that had continuous energy like a power supply it would kill you just like touching the third rail would. NEC states anything above 60VDC or 42.4VAC peak - peak is considered hazardous. Now why would they say that if voltage isn't dangerous!!! Remember as long as a voltage supply isn't current limited (a lesson for another day) high voltage = high current!!! Always stay away!!!

• AJ
Lv 4
9 years ago

It doesn't depend on the voltage that is running through the rails. It's the amperage that kills you. Seven mA is all it takes to kill a person directly to the heart. The amperage is the voltage divided by the resistance. The more resistance (Ohms) you have, the less amperage you have and therefore, the safer you are. I have no idea what resistance nor do I want to find out how much resistance urine has. I just wouldn't try it period.

Edit: Pipe Strangler, when you rub your shoes against a rubber floor and touch a steel/metal door knob and feel the shock, that's anywhere from 5,000-20,000 volts. It's the resistance that makes you stay alive. And it's the amperage that kills. Voltage only takes a big effect when there's less resistance.

• Elaine
Lv 4
4 years ago

I still would avoid that. The 3rd rail is about 600 volts & supplies enough current for a few trainsets of subway cars on each line. Each car pulls like 2000 amps. That's some serious frying bro.

• 9 years ago

Can it kill you? well most certainly it can. if that rail is charged (in use), and you come into contact with it, your gonna do a scooby dance like no other. pretty potent stuff. and most certainly, enough power (amps) to kill a human, quite easily. it would be in your best interest to urinate on a home outlet first. you know, just to get used to the feeling. then work your way up to higher voltages. once your electrically induced sex change has happened, come back and let us know how it turned out. we could use a good laugh!

Source(s): Railfan.
• 9 years ago

Almost certainly. It is correct to say that it is the current that flows can be the killer but the voltage can also have an effect as typically over 200ish volts will have a serious effect on the body tissue so although the initial shock may not kill you the serious burns or cooked flesh could certainly lead to a very painful death.

EDIT. I guess wikipedia must have it wrong then, try looking at electric shock. Higher voltages have an effect on the body that causes the resistance to go down and thereby allow higher current to flow.

Source(s): Wikipedia and 40+years in the electricity industry.
• Anonymous
9 years ago

Only if you are standing between the rails when the train is coming.

• Andy M
Lv 4
9 years ago

The third rail is typically energised at 750 volts DC. Urine conducts electricity, so therefore the answer is an emphatic "yes"!

Source(s): Thirty one years working on the railway.
• 9 years ago

no, the power and ground wires are far enough apart that it will actually protect you from your own stupidity in that situation.