Railroad-Crossing Safety

7 Steps for Safety Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

  1. Approach with care.
    Warn others that you are slowing down. Turn on 4-way flashers. Use pull-out lane if available.

  2. Prepare to stop.
    Turn off fans and radio and roll down windows. Locate your cell phone for use in emergency.

    Stop at least 15 feet, but not more than 50 feet, from nearest rail.

  3. Look and listen both ways, carefully.
    Bend forward to see around mirrors and A-pillars.

  4. If it won't fit, don't commit.
    Do not enter a crossing unless you can drive completely through without stopping!

    And, remember, trains are wider than the track. Before you pull onto the track, make sure there is enough room on the other side for the back of your vehicle (and any overhanging cargo) to be at least 3 feet beyond the furthest rail.

  5. Look again.
    Before you move, look again in both directions.

  6. Cross tracks with care.
    Signal, watch for a safe gap, pull back onto the road if you used a pull-out lane. Use highest gear that will let you cross without shifting.

  7. Keep going once you start, even if lights start to flash or gates come down.

What to do if your vehicle stalls or hangs up on the tracks

    Evacuate your vehicle. (Trains traveling at 60 mph may take a mile or more to stop.)

  2. Move away.
    Walk toward the oncoming train, and away from the tracks at a 45-degree angle. (If your vehicle is hit, debris will spread out from the tracks in the same direction the train is moving.)

  3. Locate the emergency phone number.
    When you are safely away from the tracks, find the railroad's emergency phone number and the DOT crossing identification number posted near the crossing. (See sample locations below.)

    Railroad identification, emergency phone numbers, and DOT number locations.
  4. Call for help!
    Call the railroad's emergency phone number, the local police, or 911. Tell them a vehicle is on the tracks. Provide the location, crossing number (if posted), and the name of the road or highway.

icon important Railroads' Emergency Phone Numbers

Railroad Emergency Phone Number
Amtrack 1-800-331-0008
BNSF Railway 1-800-832-5452
CSX 1-800-232-0144
Canadian National 1-800-465-9239
Canadian Pacific 1-800-716-9132
Kansas City Southern 1-877-527-9464 or 1-800-892-6295
Norfolk Southern 1-800-453-2530
Union Pacific 1-888-877-7267

Call the local police or 911 if you cannot locate the railroad emergency phone number at the site.

For more information on railroad safety, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov