Railroad Crossings

There is really only one thing that can go wrong at a rail crossing and that’s your vehicle colliding with a moving train. The consequences of such a collision will likely be deadly for you and your passengers and possibly those on the train. Consider these tips for dealing with railroad crossings:

  • Keep an eye out for round, black on yellow or the black on white “crossbuck” signs. They indicate that a railroad crossing is up ahead.
  • A crossbuck with lights may be posted to indicate that you are about to reach the crossing.
  • The presence of lights and gates means you have reached the crossing. Slow down and prepare to stop at least fifteen and up to fifty feet from the tracks. If any lights are lit or the gates lower, DO NOT approach the tracks. A train is coming.
  • After a train passes remain stopped until the gates lift, the lights go off, and the bells stop.
  • Proceed after checking both ways as you reach the tracks. Some crossbuck signs have numbers underneath them. These numbers indicate the number of tracks at that crossing. Just because one train has passed does not mean there are no others approaching.
  • Regardless of lights and gates, always check in both directions as you prepare to cross the tracks. Crossing gates and lights are mechanical and can become inoperable without warning.
  • At railroad crossings with limited visibility, roll down your windows and listen as you approach a crossing. You may hear oncoming trains at crossings that have no gates or lights.
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