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Online Driver Manual - Railroad Crossings, Light Rail and Street Cars

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Railroad Crossings

Rail Road Crossing signSigns and signals are used to mark railroad crossings. When you see them, look, listen, and slow down because you may have to stop.

A railroad advance sign warns you that a railroad crossing is ahead.

Rail Road Crossing yield sign
Rail Road Crossing stop signA railroad crossbuck assembly will include a yield or stop sign. Obey the posted sign. If there is more than one track, a sign below the crossbuck indicates the number of tracks.

A crossing signal system includes flashing red lights and may have a gate with red flashing lights that are activated when a train is nearby. Railroad crossings have pavement markings that include a large “X” with the letters “RR.” Only cross the tracks if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing.

Do Not Stop on Tracks sign


  • Never stop on the tracks.
  • Never try to beat a train at a crossing.
  • The train you see is closer than it seems.
  • Trains cannot stop quickly.
  • All school buses, hazmat vehicles and some school activity vehicles must stop at railroad tracks. Be prepared to stop when following these vehicles.
  • One train may be blocking the view of another one.
When required to stop, do so at the stop line. If there is no stop line, stop at least 15 feet from the nearest rail.

Stop before railroad tracks when:

  • Flashing red lights are activated.
  • An approaching train is clearly visible or is so close to the crossing that it would be hazardous for you to try to cross.
  • A stop sign is posted, even if you do not see a train coming.
  • A flagger signals you to stop.
It is against the law to drive around or under a crossing gate – while down or while being raised or lowered – and it is extremely dangerous. After stopping, do not start across the tracks until you are sure you can do so safely. At crossings with multiple tracks, look carefully to see if a second train is coming on another track from either direction.

Report a Problem or Emergency signIf a vehicle, person or object is stuck on the railroad tracks:

  1. Get out of the vehicle!
  2. Get away from the tracks, even if you do not see a train.
  3. If it’s safe, look for an Emergency Notification System (ENS) sign located on a post at the crossing near the tracks to notify the railroads of the obstruction in the tracks so they can alert incoming trains.
  4. If a train approaches, move at a 45 degree angle from the tracks in the direction of the train so you are not hit with debris.

Light Rail and Streetcars

Light rail trains and streetcars run on tracks in the road. These vehicles cannot stop quickly. When sharing the road with light rail or streetcars:

  • Slow down and look both ways before crossing tracks at an intersection. Never turn in front of an approaching light rail train or streetcar.
  • When approaching tracks at an intersection, stay behind any stop line and never stop on the track.
  • Check for trains before changing lanes.
  • Use caution when passing a stopped train or streetcar. Watch for pedestrians. Passengers unloading from the train may cross in front of the train into your lane of traffic.
  • Wait for your light to turn green when making a left turn.
  • When parking, park behind the line separating the parking area from the track. If no stripe is present, allow at least 7 1/2 feet outside of the rails from the track.
Alert your family first poster

Sample Test Questions

When passing a stopped streetcar or light rail train, you should:
  1. Maintain speed while passing.
  2. Stop and stay stopped until the streetcar or train moves.
  3. Watch for pedestrians and pass with caution.
If you are required to stop at a railroad crossing and there is no stop line, you must stop at least ___ feet from the nearest rail.
  1. 15
  2. 12
  3. 20