Improving Safety with Railroad Crossings

Over the last 20 years alone, more than 5,000 individuals have been killed while walking on railroad rights-of-way and/or at railroad crossings. Thousands more have suffered serious injuries.   We recommend that pedestrians take the following information at heart.
  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate.
  • Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
  • Flashing red lights signal that a train is approaching from either direction. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing. Do not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it is safe to do so.
  • Do not use railroad trestles for hunting, fishing or bungee jumping because there is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass.
  • Be aware that trains do not follow set schedules so a train could come at any time.
  • Do not walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks, railroad rights-of-way or through tunnels.
  • Never walk down a train track; it's illegal and it's dangerous. By the time a locomotive engineer can see a trespasser or a vehicle on the tracks, it is too late. The train cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
  • Use only designated pedestrian or roadway crossings to cross tracks and obey all crossing warning signals.
  • Never race a train. It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly spots you ahead has little chance to miss you.
  • Trains overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions and loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. The train may hit you if you are in the right-of-way next to the tracks.

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