According to Operation Lifesaver, a person is hit by a train, either on foot or in a vehicle, every 3 hours. This is a staggering statistic, which is entirely preventable.

Let’s share with you a set of videos on railroad crossing safety and some tips. Please heed the warnings as you approach railroad crossings.

In many rural areas, there are not always crossing safety devices such as bars which flash and have ringing bells, but there is always signage and passive painted warning devices as you approach train tracks.

Be aware and stop, look and listen at all train crossings.

CREDIT: Sebastian Robertson and Reid Johnson, Railroad Crossing Dangers

What should you do if you ever stall on the tracks?

CREDIT: Operation Lifesaver, Stalled on the tracks? Get out now, get away.

What do those lights and gates mean?

CREDIT: Operation Lifesaver, Driver safety tips – railroad crossings with lights and gates

Now Let’s Review Some Railroad Safety Do’s and Don’ts

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.

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.

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 railroad crossing.


Freight trains do not follow set schedules, and many times both commuter rail traffic and freight traffic share the same tracks.