What Choo Know About Train Crossings? Your Car and Railroads

Here’s the safety measures you need to take when approaching a railroad crossing so that your car doesn’t get crushed by a train. Chugga-chugga, choo-choo.

It’s time we trained you on railroad crossings. Lame pun intended. *Ba dum tss* But seriously -- train crossings are no laughing matter and you should always be wary when approaching railroad tracks. Ever wonder why you see warning signs and flashing lights at every locomotive crossing? That’s because your car would not look so hot after colliding with a freight train. (And neither would you, probably.) Here’s the safety measures you need to take when driving up to a railroad crossing so that your motor vehicle doesn’t get crushed by a high-speed rail. Chugga-chugga, choo-choo.

Dinah, Blow Your Horn

If hear that train whistle, you know it’s time to S-T-O-P. When approaching a train crossing, you’ll often see advance warning signs. (But not always!) The most common warning sign is a big yellow circle with an “X” and the letters “RR.” No, the “RR” does not stand for RiRi.

Me: Haha I can totally beat this train


If the train is already on its way, you might see flashing red lights. Like most other traffic signals in the world, red lights most definitely mean stop. Don’t try to gun it and zoom through the tracks. You’re not that good.

In the following situations, you must stop at least 15 feet in front of train tracks, according to the Federal Railroad Administration:

  • You see flashing red lights
  • The crossing gate is lowered
  • There is a stop sign
  • You see a passenger train hurtling towards you and/or hear a loud af train horn

Okay, those weren’t the exact words of the Federal Railroad Administration, but basically.

If you’ve paid attention to everything we just said, then congratulations. You’ve completed railroad crossing training. Remember: watch out for high-speed trains, listen up for locomotive horns and follow warning signs. If you can do all that, then you’ll be golden. Welcome to the safe driver club.