Operation Lifesaver urges everyday motorists and professional drivers to remember these tips:
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.
Never race a train to the crossing – even if you tie, you lose.
Do not get trapped on the tracks. Only proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing 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 stalls on a crossing, immediately get everyone out and far away from the tracks. (Move away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is approaching.) Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching in either direction.
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 at least 18 football fields!
Do not be fooled by the optical illusion – 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.
ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.