- 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 are incapable of stopping quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer can see you, a freight train going 55 miles per hour can take a mile or longer to stop once the emergency brakes are applied — that’s right, roughly 18 football fields!
- Never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the emergency number posted on or near the crossing or local law enforcement.
- Do not get trapped on the tracks and proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
- If a vehicle ever stalls on the tracks, get out and away from the tracks, even if you don’t see a train coming. Locate the Emergency Notification System sign and call the number provided and notify them about the stalled vehicle. If a train is approaching, run toward the train at a 45-degree angle. Don’t run in the same direction as the train, as you could become injured by flying debris.
- 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 the train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways and cross the tracks quickly without stopping. It isn’t safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a railway.
- ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN — freight trains do not follow set schedules.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.