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Staying safe at railroad crossings

It may be tempting to shoot across the tracks against the signal, but just don't risk it.

Railroad signal lights

In terms of sheer force, the result of a train hitting a car is about the same as a car hitting an aluminum can: total destruction.

Common sense might tell you to keep away from trains and be cautious around railroad crossings. Unfortunately, common sense isn't all that common. The Federal Railroad Administration reports there were more than 2,000 highway/rail grade crossing incidents in the United States in 2015. The net result? 237 people killed and 991 seriously injured.

Here are a few simple reminders to keep you safe when it comes to trains:

  • Obey the signals. Never attempt to drive under a gate as it is closing, or around a closed gate. If the gate begins to close while you're underneath, keep moving ahead until you clear the crossing.
  • Even when things seem clear, look both ways at a crossing. If there are no trains in sight, cross the tracks quickly without stopping.
  • Stay at least 15 feet away from the tracks when stopping for a train.
  • If one train passes, make sure that a second train isn't approaching on another track. They can, and they do!
  • If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, get everyone out and far away from the vehicle and tracks. Debris from any collision will tend to fly in the direction the train is traveling. Call local law enforcement for assistance.

Read more safety tips at Operation Lifesaver.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


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