Trains don’t often travel on a regular schedule. From freight trains traveling across the country to light rail systems in major cities, crossing railroads can be unpredictable. A train could be coming at any time – in any direction. There were over 2,000 highway/rail grade crossing incidents in the U.S. in 2015, killing 237 people and seriously injuring 991, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
It’s important to take steps to stay safe when crossing or driving near railroads. Follow these tips to cross train tracks safely:
- Remain alert as you are approaching a railroad crossing. Most trains do not travel on a regular schedule, so always be prepared no matter what time of day you are out driving.
- Never ignore warnings at railroad crossings. Trains can arrive at a crossing faster than you anticipate. Pay attention to:
- Advanced warning and railroad crossing signs
- Red flashing lights and gates
- When you see warning signs of a railroad, look both ways and listen as you approach the crossing Don’t attempt to drive under a closing gate.
- Remain stopped at least 15 feet away from a crossing train.
- After a train passes, look both ways to ensure another train isn’t approaching on a second track. If clear, cross quickly without stopping.
- If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, get everyone out and as far away from the vehicle as possible. Immediately call your local law enforcement for help.
The force of a moving train is enough to crush your vehicle. Always yield the right-of-way of the train – a train traveling at 55 miles per hour can take over one mile to come to a complete stop. The train cannot yield to you. Watch and obey railroad warning signs to stay safe on the road.