As I understand it (and please correct me if I'm wrong), in aviation and in maritime traffic, there is an overriding obligation to operate safely and avoid accidents/damage. E.g.:
Alice and Bob are both cargo ship captains. Alice is bringing her ship into port, in perfect accordance with all relevant laws and guidelines. Bob's ship, close by, starts behaving erratically (either due to technical problems or human error on Bob's part). There is a risk of collision. Alice's ship has ample opportunity to change course and eliminate the risk, but Alice refuses to do so because "Hey, I followed all the rules - this isn't my problem." A collision ends up occurring, resulting in material damage, huge delays & opportunity costs, and perhaps even loss of life.
My understanding (again, please correct me if I'm mistaken) is that in the above situation, Alice would have been expected to take action to avoid the collision, and bears some degree of (criminal or civil) liability for failing to do so, even though all she did was 'follow the rules'.
My question is whether any similar principle exists for road users. An example:
Carol and Dave are driving their cars across a level crossing, with Carol ahead and Dave following. Just after clearing the crossing, Carol's car halts (or slows down to a crawl), leaving Dave with insufficient space and trapping him on the tracks. The bells ring and the barriers begin to descend, indicating that a train is on the way.
Of course, Dave should have known better than to cross a level crossing when there isn't already sufficient space on the other side. But now that the situation has occurred, and Carol is able to easily resolve it, is she under any legal obligation to do so? If she does not, is she civilly liable to Dave (or possibly to the engineer & passengers on the train)? Has she committed a criminal offence?
Does it matter whether Carol has a generally valid reason for stopping (e.g. she's letting a passenger disembark onto the sidewalk, perhaps completely unaware of Dave's predicament) or not (e.g. she's a bully who spontaneously decides she'd find it hilarious to terrify the driver behind her, maybe kill him, and possibly derail a train - and is later caught admitting as much in a brag to friends)?
Say Dave, after a fruitless ten seconds of frantic klaxoning with the train barreling down, decides to floor it and physically push Carol's car with his own so that he can get off the tracks. Is Dave then liable for the damage he's caused to Carol's car? Has Dave committed a criminal offence by driving into her car? Is Carol possibly on the hook for the damage this maneuver caused to Dave's car?
I live in Belgium so that's the answer I'm most interested in, but I also welcome insights from other jurisdictions. I imagine this is an area of law that could easily vary quite a bit.