Don’t let your favourite winter pastime end in tragedy

It’s the time of year when many Canadians are getting back into winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and snowmobiling. But if you’re heading out on the trails, remember to stay clear of railway tracks.
Blowing snow, fog, and sleet can reduce visibility, making railway tracks—and trains—difficult to see. Helmets, tuques, and other winter gear can also muffle the sounds of approaching trains. Even engaging in winter activities beside railway tracks poses a danger. That’s why Operation Lifesaver (OL) is launching a new campaign to remind Canadians to make their winter recreation rail-safe this year—and every year.   
Staying clear of tracks is the only safe option
Whether you’re taking a walk in the woods, getting some exercise on your skis or hitting the trails on your snowmobile, reducing the likelihood of being in a rail-related incident starts with proper planning and knowing the rail-safety basics. So, before you head off on your next outdoor adventure, make sure you follow these tips:
  • Respect the rules. Stay on marked trails and off private property, including railway tracks. Only cross tracks at designated crossings and obey all railway warning signs and signals. Never ski, walk, or ride on or next to train tracks. Trains are wider than the tracks, and it may be hard to hear when one is approaching.
  • Plan your trip. Plan the route you’ll take and avoid ones that take you near or across railway tracks.
  • Be aware of the weather. Canada’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you have enough food, clothing, and equipment for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication along with you and tell someone your route. Leave a time or date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned.
If you’re a snowmobiler, we urge you to experience OL’s Look. Listen. Live. snowmobile-focused virtual reality video. It gives viewers the shocking—and hopefully unforgettable—experience of what being involved in a snowmobile-train collision would be like.

Remember, trains and winter conditions can be a deadly mix, if you don’t follow the rules. Check out OL’s website for other resources to help ensure your favorite winter pastime is a safe one.