Rail Safety Week: Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians

Every year more than 2,000 North Americans are killed or seriously injured due to unsafe behavior around railroad tracks and trains. Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) and Operation Lifesaver Canada are partnering to raise awareness and encourage safe behavior around railroad tracks during Rail Safety Week, which takes place in the fourth week in September.

Stop Track Tragedies

The 2019 theme is “Stop Track Tragedies” and will feature a different area of focus each day. The week begins with a focus on “No Photos on Tracks” to bring awareness to the dangers associated with taking photographs on railroad tracks. Since drivers need to be extra cautious around tracks and trains, the next day is all about distracted driving.

Operation Clear Track in the U.S. and Canada will focus on crossing enforcement and awareness exercises at high-incident railroad crossings. Videos released by OLI throughout the week will cover things such as the Emergency Notification System and what to do if you’re stuck on railroad tracks.

The week will also feature railroad station events, announcements, and more to raise awareness for transit and commuter safety. OLI will also highlight trespass dangers for pedestrians and cyclists related to railroad trespassing.

Railroad Safety Tips for Drivers

Drivers should never race a train to a railroad crossing. If you see a train approaching, slow down and be prepared to stop at the railroad crossing. Trains move faster than you might think, and they are not able to stop quickly. OLI notes that a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take over a mile to stop after the emergency brakes are applied.

Do not drive around lowered gates: it’s illegal and can be deadly. If you think that a railroad signal may be malfunctioning, call the emergency number posted on or near the crossing signal, or your local law enforcement agency. If your vehicle ever stalls on railroad tracks, get out and move away from the tracks, even if you don’t see a train. Find the Emergency Notification System sign and call the number provided to inform them about the stalled train.

Rail Safety Tips for Pedestrians

Rail safety is for everyone. If you choose to walk or play around railroad tracks, you are trespassing on private property. Consequences can range from fines to fatality. The only safe place to cross railroad tracks is at a designated public crossing. Railroad tracks, trestles, yards, and equipment are private property.

Don’t cross railroad tracks immediately after a train passes, because there could be a second train. Note that trains can come from either direction. Make sure you can see clearly around the first train in both directions before crossing the tracks.

Flashing red lights mean that a train is approaching. Do not walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing and never cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing. Do not hunt, fish, or bungee jump from railroad trestles, and never attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time.

If you or a loved one has been injured by an auto accident at a railroad crossing, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.