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Highway-rail grade crossings: 7 Steps for safety

  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. Trains extend beyond the width of the rails at least 3 feet on each side. Remember your vehicle – and cargo – overhang.
  5. Look again. Before you move, look again in both directions.
  6. Cross tracks with care. Signal, watch for a safe gap and 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 

  1. Get out immediately. 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.)
  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 that crosses the tracks.

Railroad emergency telephone numbers

(800) 232-0144

Canadian National (Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad)
(800) 465-9239

Norfolk Southern
(800) 453-2530

Ohio Central Systems (Columbus & Ohio River Railroad, Ohio Central Railroad, Warren Trumbull Railroad, Ohio Southern Railroad, Chicago Ft. Wayne & Eastern, Indiana & Ohio Railway, Central Railrod of Indiana) 
(802) 527-3499

R.J. Corman Railroads
(800) 772-9091

Wheeling & Lake Erie
(877) 767-7203

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

Information provided by:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Federal Railroad Administration
Federal Highway Administration