What Would You Do?

Topic 32637 | Page 1

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Rob T.'s Comment
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This is geared towards the new/newer drivers.

You come up on a railroad crossing that has the stop arms up but the red lights are flashing. You proceed to come to a stop. You sit there for a few minutes and nothing changes. What do you do? Do you proceed through since you don't see any trains moving (you're also on the edge of a rail yard), do you wait until they go up, or do you do something else?

0255475001669221511.jpg

Only train visible (hard to see, NOT moving)0043891001669221559.jpg

Kevin B.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not a driver yet but can I guess? If confronted with this, that the arms are more or less up but the lights and bells are going I'd sit there for a couple of minutes to see if the train does in fact come by. If it doesn't then I might figure that the signal is possibly being triggered by a train or other vehicle down the way out of my sight distance and give it a couple more minutes. OR perhaps the signal is malfunctioning... If I can't readily see down the track in either direction from my cab and wish to still proceed, I might physically get out of the tractor cab and if safe to do so step into the intersection and proceed to look both ways??? If I see a train or something in the distance then I'd stay put, but if I didn't I might chalk it up to a malfunction and quickly try to cross.

Did I pass teach???

Rob T.'s Comment
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I'm not a driver yet but can I guess?

Absolutely!

Did I pass teach???

I'll make another post after dinner tonight to give others an opportunity to post their thoughts

Ryan B.'s Comment
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I would wait. After giving it 5-10 minutes, I would look to see if the crossing has a phone number posted (some do) and call to inquire of potential signal malfunction. If that doesn't yield positive results, I would call local police to assist in crossing the tracks or backing out to go another way. What I would not do is take it upon myself to cross because it looks clear. That's how a truck gets hit.

BK's Comment
member avatar

What I wonder about is if there is a traffic law that applies to that situation. 1) Do you have to stop and wait until the red lights go off? 2) is it like other flashing red lights, complete stop and then proceed with caution? Depending on the visibility, if I could see far enough in both directions, I would cross the tracks. Who knows how long the lights would stay on and make me wait.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I've only been in this situation 2-3 times. I'll plead the 5th on what I did do. But, what I would not do is wait three hours for the cops to show up.

There's book smart and then there's reality. The two do not always meet. :)

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

GREAT ANSWER, RYAN!

I would wait. After giving it 5-10 minutes, I would look to see if the crossing has a phone number posted (some do) and call to inquire of potential signal malfunction. If that doesn't yield positive results, I would call local police to assist in crossing the tracks or backing out to go another way. What I would not do is take it upon myself to cross because it looks clear. That's how a truck gets hit.

I pulled up to this crossing and the lights were flashing but the arms were up. Several vehicles both cars and semis were going through. When I got to the front I threw on my 4 ways and sat. After about 8 minutes I called the number on the shed nearby. Most crossings with arms will have a small building nearby with a sign similiar to this one I found off Google

0187191001669249596.jpg If there's no building or shed there will be a sign nearby with the same info. So I called the number and chose option 2, to report a crossing malfunction. Immediately I informed the actual person I was in Kansas City Missouri at crossing (provided the street name and crossing number) and the lights have been flashing for nearly 10 minutes and arms aren't completely up but no trains. A few minutes later a train on its scheduled arrival into the yard nearby rolled in slowly and came to a stop before entering the intersection. He needed to wait for someone from a track crew to arrive. After a few more minutes they showed up, he manually pushed the bar back into place (appears a truck hit it and swung it out towards the track) and the train proceeded on which is the one on far track in pic. The train on inside track with its lights on was sitting there the whole time. He was waiting for other train to arrive so he could leave as tracks came together to the right of first pic. He began to slowly start crawling and climbed onto front of train catwalk motioning for me to go even though the lights were still flashing, and the guy who fixed the signals also waved me through. I was thanked profusely for calling that in and being responsible. The train that came to a complete stop was a really long one so once it got moving again it took a bit to get moving down the track. Total time spent dealing with this was 40 minutes. There were about 5 cars that went through while I was there, and 8 vehicles that require a CDL. Crossings have cameras and video, even with the signal malfunctioning you still face stiff penalties if they pursue it. The railroad has 72 hours to provide proof to police of violations. The person who hit the arms is probably the most likely to have a visit from police. Even though it malfunctioned its still considered failing to obey a RR traffic control device that comes with a fine and 60 day MINIMUM CDL disqualification. Just because it's malfunctioning doesn't mean there won't be another train coming through shortly, or that the arms won't start coming down on you.

At the end of the day we're in charge of our own vehicle so handle it the way you'd like, this is how I felt was best.

Experienced driver. Thoughts?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

I've only been in this situation 2-3 times. I'll plead the 5th on what I did do. But, what I would not do is wait three hours for the cops to show up.

There's book smart and then there's reality. The two do not always meet. :)

I have had to call cops twice to help with getting out of a sticky situation. Neither time did it take 3 hours. I waited about 30 minutes both times.

Besides, even if it takes 3 hours, is saving that 3 hours worth the potential for a serious citation or potentially getting hit by a train? Big picture view is needed here.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

Experienced driver. Thoughts?

Well since I cant back up to try a different way, going around isnt a great option either since that would get me in trouble especially if I have Hazmat. Plus it is hard to tell in the picture but I don't think my rear trailer would clear that arm if I tried to go around and I would probably end up pulling it off.

So I guess I call the number and wait.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I've only been in this situation 2-3 times. I'll plead the 5th on what I did do. But, what I would not do is wait three hours for the cops to show up.

There's book smart and then there's reality. The two do not always meet. :)

double-quotes-end.png

I have had to call cops twice to help with getting out of a sticky situation. Neither time did it take 3 hours. I waited about 30 minutes both times.

Besides, even if it takes 3 hours, is saving that 3 hours worth the potential for a serious citation or potentially getting hit by a train? Big picture view is needed here.

Yeah, you’re right; big picture perspective IS needed. I’ve never risked the citation nor getting hit by a train. I just made a statement regarding time. And time is sometimes a contributing factor in the decisions we make.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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