RALEIGH, N.C. — Spring is upon us. Buds are blooming, grass is getting greener and temps are rising. And that means portrait season is heating up, too.

Prom shoots, senior pictures, family portraits. Whatever the reason, the season is sure to deliver some beautiful backdrops for that perfect shot.

Just don't use railroad tracks. 

Last year, 18 people were killed and 13 others were injured while trespassing on railroad tracks in North Carolina, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Getting the perfect picture to post to Instagram isn't worth risking your life, which is what you're doing whenever you're walking, playing or taking photos with railroad tracks, the director of NCDOT's Rail Division said in the release.

“Those are 18 people who will not be returning home to their families,” Jason Orthner, the director, said in the release. “We want to remind everyone that these types of accidents are avoidable if you stay off and away from the tracks.”

Standing on or near railroad tracks is trespassing, NCDOT said, and the department is urging people to reconsider taking any photos on them, especially during the busy photography season ahead. 

You should never assume tracks are abandoned or inactive, and remember trains can't stop quickly to avoid people or cars on the tracks, NCDOT said.

And you won't necessarily hear a train coming, with new technology making some trains very quiet on approach. 

So, basically, just get your shots somewhere else. Having train tracks in the background of your photo won't make or break your post. 

Besides, we live near the Smokies! Go take some pics with nature's epic backdrop instead. We hear the Foothills Parkway has some pretty stunning views itself.

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