Rail Safety Month: Navigating Railroad Crossings Safely

Rail Safety is promoted every September and is a nationwide initiative that sheds light on rail safety and the risks of ignoring railroad signals. Every year, we use this time to educate everyone on rail safety and spread awareness of the importance of following safety rules around railroad tracks.


Why is rail safety important?

Each year, preventable collisions occur due to collisions at crossings or with trains. According to Operation Lifesaver, a national rail safety organization, over 2,100 people are injured or killed annually in crossing and trespassing incidents in the United States. More than 60% of collisions occur at crossings equipped with lights and/or gates.

If your vehicle gets stuck on train tracks, act quickly and stay calm. Exit the vehicle immediately and move away from the tracks, leaving belongings behind. Check for warning signals and listen for an approaching train. Dial 911 to report the situation and your location. If no train is coming, push the vehicle if possible, or wait for help while staying a safe distance away. Prioritize safety and warn others nearby.


What can you do to stay safe around railroad tracks?

If you ever come to a railroad crossing with the gate arms down, it is illegal to attempt to cross the tracks in any way. By law you must wait until the arms are completely upright and have stopped moving. Until they have completely stopped you are still not allowed to cross the tracks. It’s not just a suggestion; it’s the law, and it’s all about safety.

  • Always obey all warning signs and signals at railroad crossings.
  • Never try to beat a train. Trains can take up to a mile to stop.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the tracks, even if there are flashing lights or gates.
  • Ensure there is enough room on the opposite side of the tracks before crossing.
  • Never stop on the tracks.
  • Never cross the tracks when a train is approaching.
  • Never walk or bike on railroad tracks.


To prevent distracted driving crashes at railroad crossings, drivers should eliminate distractions, stay alert, use hands-free systems, educate passengers, and advocate for rail safety. Drivers should put away their phones, stop any distracting tasks before driving near railroad tracks. Drivers also need to focus on being aware of their surroundings. Look and listen for train signals, and only utilize hands-free systems if phone use is absolutely necessary.


By practicing these safety measures, we collectively contribute to a safer environment around railroad tracks, reducing the risk of crashes and protecting lives. Rail Safety Week serves as a necessary reminder of the importance of instilling safe driving habits that extend to railway crossings and tracks. At Top Driver, we are committed to spreading this message and equipping individuals with the knowledge to make safe – informed decisions around railways.

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