Always Expect A Train


Railroad crossing sign on urban street with traffic

Did you know that a person or a vehicle is hit by a train approximately every three hours in America? A railroad tragedy last year in Westchester County, NY is a reminder of the importance of driving safely at railroad crossings (aka grade crossings). We at have compiled a list of railroad crossing safety tips to help avoid another tragedy:

ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules and anytime is train time. Expect a train at anytime in any direction.
Pay attention at railroad crossings. Signs and signals indicate where to stop and when trains are coming.
Trains and cars don’t mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That’s 18 football fields!
Never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides. Note: Crossing gates are typically “breakaway” and can be driven through if your vehicle is ever trapped between gates.
If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming. If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your car you could be injured by flying debris. Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember it isn’t safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
Prepare to stop behind school and commercial buses and trucks carrying hazardous materials. These vehicles must stop at railroad crossings.

Click here for a video link of railroad crossing safety tips. This video is geared towards younger drivers, but feels that drivers of all ages will find the video informative. In addition, share/forward the video with any young drivers. Want to learn more log onto the following: Operation Lifesaver & NJ Railroad Safety Tips

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *