Don't risk it! Railway crossing safety awareness
Don't risk it! is a multi-pronged safety campaign to encourage motorists, heavy vehicle drivers and pedestrians to think about what they are doing when approaching and using railway crossings.
Information on this page
- Always keep tracks clear
- Slow down and be prepared to stop
- Using farm crossings
- Safe use of railway pedestrian crossings
- Information for heavy vehicle drivers
- Don't risk it! educational CD-ROM
Impatience can be fatal. It takes a train more than 200 metres to stop, therefore:
- Never enter a level crossing if red lights are flashing. Wait for the lights to stop flashing before driving across railway tracks
- Never drive under ascending or descending boom gates as an oncoming train is in the vicinity or a second train may be approaching
- Never drive around boom gates when they are down - it is very likely that an oncoming train is close to the crossing
- Never queue on a railway crossing - if you have stopped on a crossing and a train is approaching, immediately drive off the track or get out of your car and move clear. It is more likely than not, that the train will not be able to stop in time.
It is important to take extra care when approaching a railway crossing and get into the habit of stopping, looking and listening for any sign of a train:
- Not all railway crossings have warning bells and lights - for your own safety, always expect a train to be coming, keep your eyes open and your wits about you
- Never rely on just a timetable to know if a train is due
- Never race a train to a railway crossing
- Trains can be travelling in either direction along the same track and on multiple tracks - be alert for more than one train passing through the crossing at the same time
- Don't be fooled by an optical illusion - trains in the distance are often closer and travelling faster than they appear.
See also Part 10 of Victoria's Road Rules which covers level crossings.
Take care when using farm crossings:
- when entering a property, stop well clear of the tracks, open the gate and then drive across after looking and listening for approaching trains
- when leaving a property, never park a vehicle on the tracks while closing a gate - in the time it takes to open and close a gate, a train can be upon you.
It is everyone's responsibility to use level crossings safely:
- Cross railway lines at marked crossings only.
- Stop one step back from the edge of the crossing before looking and listening in all directions for approaching trains.
- Think about when it is safe to cross. This is when the tracks are clear and there are no trains approaching.
- If a train is coming, wait for it to pass, then stop, look, listen and think again before crossing. Another train may be coming.
- Always obey all warning signs.
- Never jump fences, gates or barriers at crossings.
- Never force pedestrian barriers open or use the emergency escape to enter pedestrian crossings, except in case of an emergency.
- Children should always be supervised around public transport. Hold the hand of children up to five years old when crossing rail lines.
- If using a wheelchair or mobility aid, or pushing a pram or stroller, and the barriers start to close while you are on the crossing, always go to the emergency escape gate ahead of you and not back to where you entered the crossing.
Trains always have the right of way. Use your experience to protect yourself at railway crossings. This is particularly important at unprotected crossings in regional areas:
- Think about stopping distances - Some crossings have lights and boom gates. Others have a stop or give-way signs but all crossings require you to stop. Prepare early, make sure you give your truck enough time to pull up.
- Look out for short-stacking - This is when your truck hangs over the crossing because there is not enough space ahead. Make sure your path is clear before you start to cross. You don't want to realise you are stuck halfway.
- Check for problems with visibility - Some conditions make it harder to check for trains at crossings. Don't gamble at s-bend roads, in glare or when roadside objects obscure your view. Slow down and make sure you are safe to cross.
All Victorian primary schools have been sent a copy an educational CD-ROM to teach children about the dangers of level crossings in Victoria.
The CD-ROM contains:
- interactive features for students to explore
- resources for teachers to support student learning
- and newsletter items with key safety messages for parents/carers.
Children must be taught that trains can't stop quickly. They need to adopt the steps of 'Stop, look, listen and think' when at a pedestrian level crossing.