Driver inattention can kill

Rail safety and road safety go hand in hand. Our partner, the Canada Safety Council, is promoting National Road Safety Week May 14-20. It’s the perfect time to remind drivers young and old about the dangers of driving near and across railway tracks.

Drivers who don’t obey the warning signs and signals at railway crossings (intentionally or because they are distracted) are the primary reason for railway crossing collisions. Regardless of whether it’s due to inattention or a flagrant disregard for safety, drivers who don’t take railway crossings seriously are risking lives. This video from Operation Lifesaver Inc. in the United States underscores the dangers of distracted driving.


The OL Public-Rail Safety Guide (PDF) offers these safety tips for drivers at railway crossings:

  • Expect a train on any track at any time. Any time is train time—so be cautious any time of the day or night.
  • Never get trapped on a highway-railway crossing. Wait on the approach until you are sure you can clear the crossing completely.
  • Watch out for a second train. When the last car of a train passes the highway-railway crossing, do not proceed until you are sure that there is no train coming on another track, in the same or opposite direction.
  • Never drive around the gates. If the gate is down, or in the process of being raised or lowered, do not cross the tracks.
  • Never race a train to the crossing because even in a tie, you lose!

Operation Lifesaver also has special training available for newly licensed and professional drivers. Train to Drive 2.0 is an interactive training website that teaches drivers how to drive safely at railway crossings.

Railway crossing collisions have increased over the past two years. Each increase in the number isn’t just a statistic—it’s a real person who has died. Each one is one too many. Don’t be a statistic. Give railway crossings the attention they deserve and Look, Listen and Live!