Key Safety Tips
Operation Lifesaver urges you to
learn lifelong, lifesaving habits around highway-rail intersections,
and to stay away from railroad rights-of-way.
Public highway-rail grade crossings are places where the roadway
crosses the train tracks. They are highway-rail intersections.
State highway departments and railroad companies have marked them,
for your safety, with one or more of the following warning devices.
Learn what they are and watch for them. These warning devices
advise you the road crosses train tracks. They alert you to the
possible presence of a train.
The Advanced Warning sign is usually the first sign you
see when approaching a highway-rail intersection. It is
located a sufficient distance ahead to allow a driver to
stop before reaching the crossing.
The Advance Warning sign advises you to slow down, look
and listen for the train, and be prepared to stop if a train
consisting of an R X R followed by a Stop Line closer to
the tracks, may be painted on the paved approach to a crossing.
Stay behind the Stop Line while waiting for a train to pass.
Crossbuck signs are
found at highway-rail intersections. They are yield signs.
You are legally required to yield the right of way to trains.
Slow down, look and listen for the train, and stop if a
When the road crosses over more than one set of tracks,
a sign below the Crossbuck indicates the number of tracks.
Red Light Signals
many highway-rail grade crossings, the Crossbuck sign has
flashing red lights and bells. When the lights begin to
flash, stop! A train is approaching. You are legally required
to yield the right of way to the train. If there is more
than one track, make sure all tracks are clear before crossing.
crossings have gates with flashing red lights and bells.
Stop when the lights begin to flash and before the gate
lowers across your road lane. Remain stopped until the gates
go up and the lights have stopped flashing. Proceed when
it is safe.
Driving Special Vehicles
addition to following all other guidelines in this website,
motorcyclists should approach all highway-rail intersections
VERY slowly. Be alert to the possibility of a rough crossing.
Always cross the tracks at as nearly a 90 degree angle as
& Commercial Buses
most states, school buses and commercial buses are required
to stop at every highway-rail grade crossing. The driver
must look and listen for trains approaching from either
direction, and cross only when it is safe to do so.
Carrying Hazardous Materials
Federal regulations and the laws of most states require
trucks carrying hazardous materials to stop at all highway-rail
grade crossings. Stop gradually to avoid being rear-ended.
Never change gears while crossing the tracks.
Wherever possible, use roads
where railroad crossings are equipped with flashing red
lights or gates.
Freight trains do not travel
on a predictable schedule; schedules for passenger trains
change. Always expect a train at every highway-rail intersection.
Do not get trapped on a highway-rail
crossing. Never drive onto a railroad crossing until you
are sure you can clear the tracks on the other side without
If the gates are down, the
road is closed. Stop and wait until the gates go up and
the red lights stop flashing.
When you are at a multiple-track
crossing and the last car of the closest train passes by,
stay alert. Before crossing, look and listen carefully for
another train on another track, coming from either direction.
If your vehicle stalls at
the highway-rail intersection, get everyone out and far
away from the tracks immediately. Then, call 911 to report
the emergency situation.
Racing a train to a highway-rail
intersection is a fool's game. If you lose, you may never
have a second chance.
For Vehicles That Must Stop!
prepared to stop when following buses or
driving behind trucks with hazardous materials placards.
Federal regulations and the laws of most states require them to
stop at every highway-rail intersection, unless advised by appropriate
Beware The Optical Illusion
AYou cannot accurately judge a train's speed or
distance. Do not take chances. An optical illusion makes a train
seem farther away and moving more slowly than it is. Do not take
Trains Can't Stop Quickly . . . You Can
applying the brakes, a loaded freight train traveling 55
mph takes a mile or more to stop. A light rail train can take
600 feet to stop, and an 8-car passenger train traveling 80 mph
requires about a mile to stop.
At night, judging speed and distance is particularly difficult.
Be very cautious.
Be Especially Alert At Night
night, judging speed and distance
is particularly difficult. Be very cautious.
around lowered gates --- It's illegal and deadly. If you suspect
a warning device is malfunctioning, call your local law enforcement
race a train to a crossing
----even if its a tie ---- You Lose!
on a crossing. Only proceed through a crossing only if you
are sure you can cross all the tracks at the crossing.
for a second
train when crossing multiple tracks.
of your vehicle
if it stalls on a crossing and call your local law enforcement
agency for assistance. Attempt to start your vehicle only
if you can post lookouts to warn of approaching trains.
a train on
the track at any time. Trains do not follow set schedules.
trains cannot stop quickly. Even if a locomotive engineer
sees you, it can take up to 1 and 1/2 miles for the train
to stop once the emergency brake is applied.
a train's speed and distance. A train's large mass makes it
almost impossible to accurately judge its speed.
The only safe
place to cross railroad tracks is at a public crossing
designated by the crossbuck.
Turn your cell
phone and MP3 players off when youre near train tracks.
Forget texting, as it could be a deadly distraction near the
tracks. Trains are quieter than you think, go faster than they
appear, and do not run on set schedules.
Look both ways
and listen before crossing train tracks. Expect a train at any
than a public crossing, stay off and away from the tracks.
rail yards and equipment are private property. If you hunt,
fish or ride your ATV on the tracks, you are trespassing.