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2.15.3 – Driving Procedures For Railroad Crossings

Never Race a Train to a Crossing. Never attempt to race a train to a crossing. It is extremely difficult to judge the speed of an approaching train.

Reduce Speed. Reduce your speed in accordance with your ability to see approaching trains in any direction and limit your speed to a point that will permit you to stop short of the tracks in case a stop is necessary.

Do Not Expect to Hear a Train. Because of noise inside your vehicle, you cannot expect to hear the train horn until the train is dangerously close to the crossing.

Do Not Rely on Signals. You should not rely solely upon the presence of warning signals, gates, or flagmen to warn of the approach of trains. Be especially alert at crossings that do not have gates or flashing red light signals.

Double Tracks Require a Double-Check. Remember: A train on one track may hide a train on the other track. Look both ways before crossing. After one train has cleared a crossing, be sure no other trains are near before starting across the tracks.

Yard Areas and Grade Crossings in Cities and Towns. Yard areas and grade crossings in cities and towns are just as dangerous as rural grade crossings. Approach them with as much caution.

2.15.4 – Stopping Safely at Railroad-highway Crossings

A full stop is required at grade crossings whenever:

  • The nature of the cargo makes a stop mandatory under state or federal regulations.
  • Such a stop is otherwise required by law.

When stopping be sure to:

  • Check for traffic behind you while stopping gradually. Use a pullout lane, if available.
  • Turn on your four-way emergency flashers.

2.15.5 – Crossing the Tracks

Railroad crossings with steep approaches can cause your unit to hang up on the tracks. Never permit traffic conditions to trap you in a position where you have to stop on the tracks. Be sure you can get all the way across the tracks before you start across. It takes a typical tractor-trailer unit at least 14 seconds to clear a single track and more than 15 seconds to clear a double track.

Do not shift gears while crossing railroad tracks.

2.15.6 – Special Situations

Be Aware! These trailers can get stuck on raised crossings:

  • Low slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving van, possum-belly livestock trailer).
  • Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its landing gear set to accommodate a tandem-axle tractor.

If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get out of the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check signposts or signal housing at the crossing for emergency notification information. Call 911 or other emergency number. Give the location of the crossing using all identifiable landmarks, especially the DOT number, if posted.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #133 (1 of 4)

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How long does it take a typical tractor-trailer to cross the tracks?

  • At least 5 seconds to clear a single track and more than 10 seconds to clear a double track.
  • At least 14 seconds to clear a single track and more than 15 seconds to clear a double track.
  • About 10 seconds
  • About 25 seconds
It takes a typical tractor-trailer unit at least 14 seconds to clear a single track and more than 15 seconds to clear a double track.
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Question #134 (2 of 4)

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What must you never do while crossing a railroad track?

  • Turn off your 4-ways
  • Shift gears
  • Turn on your 4-ways
  • Tap the brakes
Do not shift gears while crossing railroad tracks.
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Question #132 (3 of 4)

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When must a commercial driver come to a full stop for a railroad crossing?

  • When the nature of the cargo makes a stop mandatory under state or federal regulations or such a stop is otherwise required by law
  • At all times
  • When there is a school bus immediately behind your vehicle as you approach the tracks
  • When the visibility is low or it's raining or snowing

A full stop is required at grade crossings whenever:

  • The nature of the cargo makes a stop mandatory under state or federal regulations.
  • Such a stop is otherwise required by law.
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Question #135 (4 of 4)

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What should you do if you get hung up on railroad tracks?

  • Immediately disconnect from the trailer and pull the tractor safely away from the tracks. Call 911. Allow a tow truck to safely remove the trailer from the tracks.
  • Get out of the cab and walk up the tracks about 1,000 ft to warn any oncoming train of the hazard. Call 911 asap.
  • Immediately call 911 before getting out of the cab if you have time. Give them your location. Get out of the truck and wait for help to arrive. Try to warn any oncoming trains.
  • Get out of the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check signposts or signal housing at the crossing for emergency notification information. Call 911 or other emergency number.
If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get out of the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check signposts or signal housing at the crossing for emergency notification information. Call 911 or other emergency number. Give the location of the crossing using all identifiable landmarks, especially the DOT number, if posted.
If you get stuck on the tracks, get away from the truck and the tracks asap! Simple as that. Get out of there. Then call 911.
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