Railroad Safety

Driver's Tips

  • Never drive around lowered gates—it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call your local law enforcement agency or the railroad OR dial 911.
  • Never race a train to the crossing—even if you tie, you lose.
  • Do not get trapped on a crossing. Only proceed through a crossing if you are sure you can cross all the track. Get out of your vehicle if it stalls on a crossing and call your local law enforcement agency for assistance. Only attempt to restart if you can post lookouts to warn of approaching trains. Watch out for a second train when crossing multiple tracks.
  • Expect a train on the track at any time. Trains do not follow set schedules.
  • Be aware trains cannot stop quickly. It can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. When the engineer can see you, it is already too late to be able to avoid a collision. Do not misjudge the train's speed and distance. A train's large mass makes it impossible to accurately judge its speed and distance.

Pedestrian Tips

  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fines. There are over 200,000 miles of railroad tracks in the U.S. Since 1990, there have been over 3,672 people killed while trespassing on railroad rights-of-way and property.
  • DO NOT walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks and property or through tunnels.
  • Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
  • Observe all warning signs and signals.
  • DO NOT hunt, fish or bungee jump from railroad trestles. There is only enough clearance on tracks for a train to pass. They are not meant to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges.
  • DO NOT attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost you a limb.
  • Be aware trains DO NOT follow set schedules. Any Time is Train Time!

In 2001, nearly 4,200 people were seriously injured or killed by trains in the United States.

Trains cannot stop quickly.

  • 150-car freight train approximate stopping distance: at 30 mph = 3,500 feet or 2/3 of a mile, at 50 mph = 8,000 feet or 1 1/2 miles
  • 8-car passenger train approximate stopping distance: at 60 mph = 3,500 feet or 2/3 of a mile, at 79 mph = 6,000 feet or 1 1/8 miles
  • A loaded train traveling 55 miles per hour can take 5,280 feet to stop

Visit Operation Lifesaver's Homepage to learn more.