On average, nearly 2,000 Americans are killed or injured at railroad crossings each year. A motorist in a train/vehicle collision is approximately 40 times more likely to die compared to a motorist in a collision between two cars.

Here are some safety tips from Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit group dedicated to preventing such crashes. You may want to pass this advice along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.

  • Trains and cars don't mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That's 18 football fields!
  • Never drive around lowered gates — it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Don't get trapped on the tracks. Proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you're sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming. If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your car you could be injured by flying debris. Call 911 for assistance.
  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember, it isn't safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
  • Always expect a train. Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

To view a video on the subject, click on the link or photo above (just under the headline).

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet