US Rail Safety Week

September 24 – 30, 2017

The fourth week of September marks the first national Rail Safety Week. The U.S. Department of Transportation and other associations aim to educate the public and remind us that railroads are dangerous. Did you know railways and rail yards are private property? Each year, around 1,000 people are killed or injured trespassing on or near railroads.

Some things to keep in mind next time you encounter train tracks:

Never cross tracks anywhere other than a public crossing and even then, only cross when it is safe to do so.

In an average year, there are approximately 2,500 collisions between trains and motor vehicles, resulting in roughly 250 people killed and 1,000 more injured.

Never try to beat a train or try to go around or under closed crossing gates.

A typical train takes over a mile to come to a complete stop and the majority of vehicle-train crashes occur when the train is traveling at speeds between 40-49 mph.

Railway Safety

Crossing railways can be dangerous.  You should only cross railway tracks at designated crossings. Listen and look both directions for trains that may be approaching, and follow these other safety tips:

  • Never stop on the tracks. Make sure your entire car is able to cross with enough space to successfully clear the tracks before starting to go.
  • Be aware of other vehicles that must stop at railroad tracks.
  • Walking on railroad tracks is really dangerous, so just don’t do it.
  • Never race a train to a crossing. Drive with caution around railroad tracks and be prepared to stop.
  • Stop if you see or hear a train approaching. You can easily misjudge a train’s speed and distance because large objects appear to be moving slower than they actually are.
  • When red lights are flashing at railroad crossings, stop at least 15 feet from the closest track. Do not proceed over a crossing until the red lights stop flashing, even if the gate rises. And never drive around a crossing gate.