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I. Driving techniques
 
Stopping at railway crossings
 

All railway crossings on public roads in Ontario are marked with red and white “X” signs. Watch for these signs and be prepared to stop. You may also see yellow advance warning signs and pavement markings of a large X at approaches to railwaycrossings. Some railway crossings have flashing signal lights while some use gates or barriers to keep motorists from crossing the tracks when a train is coming.

Most buses and other public vehicles are required to stop at railway crossings that do not have automatic warning devices such as barriers and signal lights. School buses must stop at all railway crossings whether or not they have automatic warning devices. Motorists must be prepared to stop behind these vehicles. Obey all signs and signals. Remember — it can take up to two kilometres for a train to stop under full emergency braking.

When you come to a railway crossing, remember:

  • Slow down, listen and look both ways to make sure the way is clear before crossing the tracks.
  • If a train is coming, stop at least five metres from the nearest rail. Do not cross the track until you are sure the train or trains have passed.
  • Never race a train to a crossing.
  • If there are signal lights, wait until they stop flashing and, if the crossing has a gate or barrier, wait until it rises, before you cross the tracks.
  • Never drive around, under or through a railway gate or barrier while it is down, being lowered or being raised. It is illegal and dangerous.
  • Never stop on railway tracks. For example, in heavy traffic, make sure you have enough room to cross the tracks completely before you begin to cross.
  • Don’t shift gears while crossing tracks.
  • If you get trapped on a crossing, immediately get everyone out and away from the vehicle. Move to a safe place and then contact authorities.
  • Buses and other public vehicles are required to stop at railway crossings that are not protected by gates, signal lights, or a stop sign. School buses must stop at railway crossings whether or not they are protected by gates or signal lights. Watch for these buses and be prepared to stop behind them.
  • If you are approaching a railway crossing with a stop sign, you must stop unless otherwise directed by a flagman.

Illustration of a railway crossing with flashing lights

Diagram 2-7