David Brown's change of heart came seconds too late when the Vauxhall Corsa he was sitting in was destroyed by the 60mph train at a level crossing in Wokingham, Berks.
The 58-year-old had moments earlier driven onto the unmanned crossing to wait for a passing train, but was then seen by the train's driver frantically trying to get out the way before it hit.
Distraught train driver James Collinson told an inquest into Mr Brown's death how he saw the father-of-two look up at him a split second before the devastating impact.
Mr Brown had tried to turn the ignition back on in a panicked state but 'didn't have much opportunity to bail out' before being hit by the train travelling on the Reading to London Waterloo line. Read More