Driver Rail Safety Tips

Union Pacific reminds drivers to always expect trains travelling from either direction at all railroad crossings. Trains can take more than a mile to stop – after locomotive engineers apply emergency brakes. The following tips will help ensure drivers arrive to their destinations safely.

  • Slow down, look both ways and proceed if your entire vehicle can clear the railroad crossing.
  • If a train approaches, stop at least 15 feet from the nearest rail. Trains are three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • Do not drive around lowered gates — saving a few minutes is not worth risking your life.
  • Look again at crossings with multiple tracks. Two tracks may mean two trains – ensure all tracks are clear before driving across each rail line.
  • If your car stalls or stops on the crossing, get yourself and all passengers out and away quickly. Call the phone number posted at the railroad crossing or 911 to report a stalled vehicle.

Remember: At crossings, trains can't stop quickly or steer out of the way. Drivers can. 

Driver Traffic Laws on the Tracks

"Whenever any person driving a vehicle approaches a railroad grade crossing and signals indicate an approaching train, the driver of such vehicle shall stop within fifteen feet from the nearest rail of such railroad and shall not proceed until he can do so safely."
Most state motor vehicle laws

The driver must treat the crossbuck as a yield sign and the motorist must stop whenever automatic signals are activated. A driver is obligated to:

  • Not exceed the speed limit.
  • Be able to stop within an assured clear distance ahead.
  • Drive with reasonable care in all circumstances.  

Check out Union Pacific CARES for more information about driving safely across railroad tracks.