Pedestrian and Driver Safety
Trains are cool and fun, but dangerous to be around. Following these safety measures, and being aware of the signals and signs around railroad tracks and rail crossings, will help keep you safe.
- Cross railroad tracks only at designated areas.
- Look both ways before crossing!
- Trains may not always sound their horns in Quiet Zones.
- Don't walk on the tracks. It's dangerous, against the law.
- Never play near or around railroad tracks.
- Learn and follow railroad warning signs.
- Don't go around or under when crossing arms are down.
Know the Signs & Signals
Signs and warning devices are all along roads that cross railroad tracks to warn or guide traffic and to provide safety messages.
- Before the Crossing
- On the Road
- Signs at the Crossing
- Devices at the Crossing
- Signs Along Railroad Property
Advance Warning Sign
These signs warn you that railroad tracks are ahead. Watch out! This sign also tells you to slow down, look and listen because you may have to stop, and it shows which way the tracks cross the road.
Trains do not blow their horns in these areas, but the engineer can still sound the horn in emergency situations. You may not hear a train coming and because of this, you need to be extra careful at these crossings and look both ways!
Advance Warning Signs for Side Streets
These signs warn that train tracks will appear immediately after making either a right or left turn and remind drivers to be prepared if a train is coming.
Sometimes, on paved roads, there is a large “X” and / or stop lines painted on the pavement to remind you that you are coming to a railway crossing. Remember to “Look and Listen” for a train before crossing.
Railway Crossing Sign
Also known as a crossbuck. It means that if a train is coming, cars and people must STOP and let the train go by. The crossbuck may or may not be have flashing lights, bells, and / or gates. Whether or not lights or gates are attached with it, everything and everyone must stop for the train.
These signs tell you that there are more than one set of tracks at a crossing. this sign can be found just below the crossbuck at a crossing, and it tells you the number of tracks to expect at that location.
Just like stop signs anywhere else on the road, a stop sign at a railroad crossing means, "stop!" A car can go after it has stopped, and it is safe to proceed.
All yield signs mean the same thing: wait for other cars, pedestrians, or, in this case, trains to pass before going. Always wait until it is safe to cross.
Flashing Red Light Signals
You must stop when these signals start to flash. Only when the lights stop flashing is when you can safely cross.
Flashing Red Lights & Gates
If you see a lowering gate with flashing red lights, it means that a train is coming. Do not try to beat a train by going around gates that are lowering or ones that are already down.
Cantilever Flashing Lights
These warn that trains are coming. When there are roads with many lanes, these signals make sure that drivers on all lanes can clearly see the warnings.
No Trespassing Sign
These signs warn you to stay off of the tracks and away from the area and that no trespassing is allowed and there is danger present. You should only cross the tracks at a marked crossing and never trespass on railway property. It tells you to stay off, stay away and stay alive!
Why You Need to Be Careful Around Trains
- Trains cannot stop quickly.
- Trains cannot swerve out of the way for people or things on the tracks.
- Trains can weigh up to 6,000 tons! If a train were to hit a car, it would be like a car running over a soda can.
- A train may extend three feet or more beyond the tracks.
- Trains can come at any time.
- Trains move in either direction at any time.
- Trains may be very quiet and may not give any warning.