What Vehicles Must Stop at All Railroad Crossings

If you’re crossing railroad tracks, you need to make sure your vehicle clears the tracks and wait for a safe spot to cross.

Some vehicles are required to stop at all railroad crossings, including school buses, heavy-duty trucks, streetcars, and buses carrying passengers.

Other vehicles have special requirements, such as those with explosive or flammable cargo.

Commercial motor vehicles

Commercial motor vehicles must stop at all railroad crossings and grade-separated highways.

This is required by Interstate Commerce Commission regulations for hazardous materials transporting trucks.

Even if there is no approaching train, commercial motor vehicles must stop. However, in rural areas, tracks may only be marked by a sign.

This leaves passenger car drivers little reason to expect a truck to stop, which often results in a collision.

If a commercial vehicle is approaching a railroad-grade crossing, the driver must stop fifteen or fifty feet away from the rails.

The driver must look and listen for an approaching train.

At the same time, they must not proceed unless they are absolutely sure that it is safe to do so.

The stop requirement is required by SS 4163A and applies only to commercial motor vehicles.

While there are some federal exceptions to the stopping requirement, a driver must always stop at all railroad-grade crossings.

Federal exemptions to the rule include abandoned railroad grade crossings controlled by green traffic signals.

In addition, local and state authorities may have their own exemptions.

Commercial vehicles are also required to stop at all railroad-grade crossings when carrying hazardous materials.

Besides stopping at all railroad crossings, drivers must also adhere to other regulations regarding railroad crossings.

They must ensure that they don’t shift gears while crossing a railroad crossing.

They should also remain in one lane. They must also maintain a safe distance of 200 feet in both directions.

Exempt crossings: In some instances, railroad grade crossings can be marked by a crossing flagman or police officer.

In these instances, the police officer will direct traffic.

The crossing flagman may also direct traffic.

If the railroad grade crossing is an abandoned rail line, it will be marked with a sign indicating that it is an abandoned railroad.

Signs marking railroad grade crossings may contain flashing red lights or bells that warn of approaching trains.

Drivers must stop at the entrance to the crossing and ensure that all tracks are clear.

Heavy-duty trucks

If you’re driving a truck, it’s crucial that you know how to safely cross railroad crossings.

You’ll need to know the signs that indicate railroad grade crossings.

When you see them, you must slow down to allow yourself ample time to see if there is a train.

In addition, you need to remember to stop at any railroad-grade crossings if you’re transporting hazardous materials.

For several reasons, commercial motor vehicles and buses that carry people need to stop at railroad crossings.

Often, they are carrying a large number of children or precious cargo.

When these vehicles cross railroad tracks, they must stop between 15 feet and fifty feet away from the tracks to prevent a collision.

Not only are these collisions dangerous, but they can also cause significant damage to a truck and trailer.

The Federal Railroad Administration has established maximum running speeds on railroad tracks.

Those speeds are typically very low, especially on rural tracks.

However, the FMCSA is considering a study to determine whether the stopping requirement is causing accidents.

The study could show whether the requirement is causing fatalities.

Heavy-duty trucks must stop at all railroads, including those with hazardous materials.

While warning signs are posted at these crossings, they may not be present at all times.

Therefore, drivers must take extra precautions to ensure that they’re ready to stop.

They should also be sure that the trailer jacks are in the up position, which can prevent a truck from getting stuck in the tracks.

Commercial motor vehicles, buses, and school buses are required by law to stop at railroad crossings.

This law protects both the public and the driver. Drivers must keep their ears and eyes open to hear approaching trains.

Additionally, they must look in both directions when crossing a railroad track.

If they don’t see flashing red lights, they should stop at the nearest stop line and keep clear of the tracks.

If they need assistance, drivers can call the Emergency Notification System.

In addition to stopping at railroad grade crossings, drivers must follow the directions of railroad grade crossing officers.

They must also observe the traffic control devices installed at railroad-grade crossings.

School buses

It is the law for school buses, hazmat vehicles, and certain other school activities to stop at all railroad crossings.

This is because trains often block the view of other trains and can be dangerous to cross.

While there is no direct way to avoid being hit by a train, drivers should listen for train whistles and be alert for train activity.

There are several regulations that govern how school buses must stop at railroad crossings.

State laws vary, but most mention the school bus specifically, while others mention any commercial vehicle that transports passengers.

In addition to following state laws, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has published recommended procedures to ensure school bus safety at railroad crossings.

These include the need for school bus drivers to turn off radios and fans and to stop their vehicles before crossing certain railroad tracks.

The yellow circular advance warning signs are installed at public highway-rail intersections.

These signs remind drivers to slow down, listen for train whistles, and to avoid the railroad tracks.

Additionally, pavement markings are often installed to warn drivers of railroad crossings.

Sometimes a white stop line is painted on the pavement just before a railroad crossing.

Drivers must stop their vehicles 15 feet behind this white line.

By law, a school bus must stop at all railroad crossings.

This includes railroad grade crossings and street railway grade crossings in a business district.

There are additional requirements for vehicles that carry explosive materials.

Depending on where you live, these regulations may vary. Nevertheless, these regulations are necessary to protect students and the public.

If you are driving a vehicle near a railroad-grade crossing, be aware that it is illegal to drive around or under the gate.

You should only cross the tracks if you are absolutely sure there is no train.

Trains can come from any direction, and the best way to ensure your safety is by avoiding railroad-grade crossings and other dangerous intersections.

In addition, look for Emergency Notification System signs.

They will warn railroads of any obstruction on the railroad.


There are several different techniques that can be used to ensure that streetcars can safely cross railroad tracks.

One of them is using transit signal priority.

This technique helps to reduce the total travel time of the streetcar.

It is particularly useful in areas where pedestrians are frequent.

These techniques also help to reduce potential queue blockages. Another technique involves implementing a dedicated lane in certain areas.

All pedestrians and drivers should exercise caution when approaching a railroad crossing.

It is important to yield the right of way to pedestrians.

The driver of a vehicle that passes a streetcar must also stop at the right of way.

In addition, they must stop at least five feet from the rear door.

Once they reach safety, the driver must move off the streetcar tracks.

As with any other type of vehicle, drivers should obey the rules at a railroad crossing.

It is illegal to obstruct a streetcar’s line of sight. Drivers should avoid blocking the tracks by parking too close to the track.

If they do not comply with these regulations, they could face citations and tow.

It is also imperative to cross the tracks at the proper angle. Crossing a railroad at an angle of fewer than 90 degrees will increase the likelihood of a crash.

Before the advent of subways and railway overpasses, streetcars had to cross regular railways. Some of these railways were not made accessible for streetcars.

This forced riders to cross the tracks by walking.

In the United States, streetcars are permitted to cross at grade rail crossings.

Aside from stopping at railroad crossings, drivers should also watch out for a train that is approaching.

They should avoid speeding through the intersection, as this can result in an accident.

Furthermore, drivers should stay away from lowered gates, which keep traffic off the tracks.

Also, they should be sure to follow any posted emergency notifications.

In addition to the signs that require drivers to stop at railroad crossings, drivers should also be aware of exempt signs.

These signs are designed to notify drivers of hazardous materials, commercial vehicles, and passengers of their presence at a railroad crossing.

Exempt signs are only required when the driver’s view of the railroad crossing is blocked.

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