Highway Rail Grade Crossings: 7 Steps to Safety

With the rise of public transit at an all-time high in many cities across the nation due to both skyrocketing gas prices and an increased number in commuters (many of whom have been forced to take jobs further and further away from home) the issue of train safety is gaining momentum. It is important to remember that whether you (or a family member) is the taking the train or simply crossing over an intersection that has railway tracks, safety must come first. In addition, the steps to ensure protecting your loved ones simply can't be glossed over. The Federal Highway Administration published the following list of tips for Railway Crossings that I find are helpful to drivers. The list can also be found here: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/xings. 1.) Approach the intersection with care. Warn others that you are slowing down. Turn on 4-way flashers. Use pullout 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 the tracks with care. Signal, watch for a safe gap, pull back onto the road if you used a pullout 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.

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