Don’t get stuck on the tracks!

Imagine this: you’re driving through a railway crossing and get halfway across the tracks when your vehicle stalls. You look down the tracks and see a train barrelling towards you. What do you do?
It sounds like a scene from a Hollywood action film, but it’s a scenario that happens all too often. In January 2022, a car got stuck on some tracks near North Langley, B.C. after a GPS mistakenly directed the driver down the tracks instead of a street. (See note below.) At first, the driver and his passenger tried to push the vehicle off the tracks—but a train was quickly approaching. Luckily, the two were able to get out of harm’s way in time.
Knowing what to do could save your life
If your vehicle does get stuck on the tracks, the most important thing is to get yourself and your passengers out as quickly as you can. Move a safe distance away—at least 30 metres from the tracks—so that you won’t get hit by debris if there is a collision.

Next, contact the railway company and let them know there is a vehicle on the tracks. Most railways post their emergency numbers and crossing locations on blue signs under the crossbuck or near the crossing. This information may also be displayed on a nearby signal house. If you can’t find the emergency number, call 911.

But the best way to avoid a tragedy is to prevent your vehicle from getting stuck on the tracks in the first place. If you’re sitting in traffic at a crossing, make sure there is enough room to clear the tracks before you move forward, so you don’t have to stop your vehicle in the middle of the crossing. And make sure you test your rail safety knowledge before you get behind the wheel with our Train to Drive program—it features virtual-reality videos that test whether drivers know how to safely respond in life-or-death situations like a vehicle stalled on the tracks.

(NOTE: If you're using a GPS, make sure it's synched properly so that you don't accidentally turn too early or too late when following directions.)