Railroad Crossing Safety for the Elderly and Disabled

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Railroad crossings are becoming increasingly unsafe across the United States

Because of several factors, including the growing number of older drivers, railroad crossings are becoming increasingly unsafe across the United States.

That’s why it’s extremely important that those with slower reflexes or impaired senses should practice extra caution when operating their vehicles at railroad crossings.

Railroad Crossing Basics

Drivers are responsible for knowing and obeying the following rules for crossing railroad tracks:

  • You should always come to a full stop at a crossing.

  • As you approach a railroad crossing you should roll down the vehicle’s windows and turn off all audio devices so you are able to listen for the train’s whistle. Those with audio impairments should take extra precaution to ensure their hearing aids are on and functioning correctly, especially at these locations.

  • You should check both directions twice before starting to drive across the tracks. Those with visual impairments need to be especially diligent when doing so.

  • Do not stop in the middle of the tracks for any reason.

  • If a vehicle stalls near or while on the tracks, its occupants should exit immediately and contact law enforcement as soon as possible to inform officers of the situation. Never linger around the vehicle or spend any time attempting to remove its contents.

  • If you are able to locate a phone number for the railroad company posted at the crossing, the driver or passengers should call it immediately to inform transit authorities about the stalled vehicle.

  • If dealing with a car that has stalled on the tracks and a train appears, those on foot should move as quickly as possible away from the train, staying well away from the tracks.

  • You should never try to outrun an approaching train. The train is always moving faster than it appears to be.

  • Train whistles are banned in some areas. Motorists and pedestrians should exercise extra caution when crossing tracks in these areas.

  • Drivers should never attempt to go around or drive through crossing gates, unless they are already on the tracks and the gate is blocking and preventing them from driving forward.

  • Vehicles should never tailgate while crossing railroad tracks.

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