Have you seen the sign—the rail safety sign?

Every day, as we move through our lives heading to work, taking the kids to school or running errands, we are exposed to numerous signs, all of which are there to inform, direct, identify or give us warning about something. Keeping up with Public-Rail Safety Week's theme of “See tracks? Think Train!”, there’s no better time to review rail safety signage and its purpose for pedestrians and drivers.

Recognize what’s ahead

The main function or purpose of a sign is to communicate and convey information such that its receiver can make cognitive decisions based on the information provided. Signs can be classified into the following functions:
  • Information: signs giving information about services and facilities, e.g., maps, directories etc.
  • Direction: signs leading to services, facilities, e.g., sign posts, directional arrows, etc.
  • Identification: signs indicating services and facilities, e.g., room names & numbers, washroom signs, etc.
  • Safety and Regulatory: signs giving warning or safety instructions, e.g., warning signs, rail safety signs, traffic signs, exit signs, rules & regulations, etc.

What happens if you don’t follow the rail safety signs?

If you fail to adhere to the warnings, you’ll find yourself playing a risky game and becoming a statistic before you know what hits you. Every year in Canada approximately 300 collisions and trespassing incidents occur at highway/railway crossings and along railway tracks resulting in the death or serious injury of nearly 130 people. The reasons for these numbers vary. For instance, many vehicle drivers do not pay close attention when approaching a highway/railway crossing. Some do not realize that a train cannot stop quickly, and take chances by trying to beat the train or driving around gates. Pedestrians often ignore warning signs and signals, and use railway tracks as shortcuts.

Don’t be a statistic

To make people aware of the dangers around railway tracks and property, Operation Lifesaver makes it easy for you to get up to speed on all things rail safety, by providing you a wealth of downloadable, free online rail safety resources, which are specifically tailored to a variety of age groups, skill levels and professions.
  • Get the rail safety education started early with the children in your family. Check out oldkids.ca.
  • Have a new driver in the house eager to get behind the wheel? Feel confident you’ve started them off in the right direction with our Train to Drive, online safety education course.
These are just a few of the many resources available to you to ensure the extremely important and life long lesson of rail safety continues for years to come with you and your family and friends. Don’t forget to visit the Public-Rail Safety Week website for event listings, important stats and videos. Join the conversation online. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook and follow the #prsw2014 hashtag. Remember: See Tracks? Think Train! [slideshare id=34169009&doc=olinfographicen-140501091727-phpapp02]