The vast majority of our ground searches take place in rural
environments where as a vehicle operator you may cross both guarded and
unguarded railroad crossings. In 2001 there were 3011 railroad related
accidents resulting in 11,933 casualties. Of those, 971 were
fatalities. According to the Department of Transportation, from
January to September of 2002 there have been 1,928 railroad accidents
resulting in 7,826 casualties, 741 of them fatal.
Here are some safety tips when operating a vehicle over railroad
1. Never drive around lowered gates--its illegal and deadly. If you
suspect that a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted
on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
2. Never race a train to the crossing- even if you tie you lose.
3. Do not get trapped on the tracks. Only proceed through a highway
rail grade crossing if you are able to completely clear the crossing
4. If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, immediately get everyone out
of the vehicle and clear of the tracks. Call your local law
enforcement agency for assistance.
5. At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out
for a train on the other tracks, approaching in either direction.
6. Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive
engine sees you, a freight train moving at 55 mph can take a mile or
more to come to a stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That is
at least 18 football fields in length.
7. Do not be fooled by the optical illusion- the train you see is
closer to you and moving faster than you think. If you see a train
approaching wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
Finally, did you know that 64 percent of all collisions between a motor
vehicle and a train occur in daylight hours? Vehicle Operator Safety
begins with you the driver. Drive Safe.
(Information provided by the Federal Railroad Administration and
Operation Lifesaver, Inc)