In 2017, there were 2,105 collisions at railroad crossings in the United States. These incidents resulted in 274 deaths and 807 injuries.
How fast should you drive over railroad tracks? The speed limit is 15 mph within 100 feet of a railroad crossing where you cannot see the tracks for 400 feet in both directions. You may drive faster than 15 mph if the crossing is controlled by gates, a warning signal or a flagman and when it is a safe to do so.
It takes about 14 seconds for a Commercial Motor Vehicle weighing 80,000 pounds, with a 53 ft long trailer to cross a single railroad track. CMV should begin slowing down when an advance warning sign is observed, and always expect a train when approaching a crossing.
What should you do if your car is stuck on the railroad tracks? If for whatever reason your car stalls, get yourself and others out of your vehicle immediately. Do not try to take any of your possessions with you. If a train is coming you should run from the tracks at a 45-degree-angle in the direction of the train. This way, you will avoid being hit by debris if your car is hit by a train. Debris spreads out from the tracks in the same direction the train is moving.
Once everyone in safely away from the car call 911. There is an equipment box with the crossing location and phone number on it at every railroad crossing location. Call this number to advise them that your car in stuck on the crossing.