How to use Level Crossings

A level crossing is where a railway line crosses a road. Trains pass over level crossings at high speed, which means when an accident occurs at a level crossing, the accident is more often than not a serious one.

Always approach a level crossing with caution. Never take risks. Never think you can jump the barriers and make it safely to the other side. You should only ever drive onto a level crossing if the exit on the other side is clear.

At any level crossing you must not:

They are several different types of level crossing some of which require different approaches.

Full Barrier Level Crossing

Full Barrier Level Crossing

Level Crossing Warning Lights

Level Crossing Warning Lights

Half Barrier Level Crossing

Half Barrier Level Crossing

Controlled Level Crossings

Most level crossings utilize traffic light signals that show a steady amber light, twin flashing red stoplights, and a sound alarm for pedestrians. Some will have full barriers - a barrier on each side of the crossing that extends over both lanes. Some will have half barriers - barriers on each side of the crossing that extend over only one lane. And some will have no barriers.

When a train approaches the level crossing, the amber light will show, followed by the flashing red stoplights. If the amber light shows after you have passed the stop line, then you should continue forward. If you haven't passed the stop line, then you must stop and wait for the lights to go off and the barriers to rise.

Since you could be waiting for a few minutes, turn your engine off.

If a train passes and the lights continue to flash, or the alarm sounds a different tone, another train is approaching, so you must continue to wait.

Some level crossings have no warning lights. If you approach such a crossing and the barriers begin to close, you should stop and wait.

User Operated Level Crossings

These have stop signs, and small red and green lights. You must only cross if the green light is on. If the red light shows, you must stop and wait.

To cross, you need to exit your car and open the gates or barriers on both sides of the crossing.

Before driving over, check to make sure the green light is still on. Once over the crossing, you should exit your car and close the gates or barriers.

Open Level Crossings

These have no barriers, gates, lights or attendants. There will be a give way sign, however. Approach with extra caution, stop, look both ways, listen and make sure no train is approaching.

If ever you break down or have an accident on a level crossing, the first thing to do is get everyone out of your car and clear of the crossing.

Some level crossings will have a railway telephone present. If you see one, use it to inform the operator of what's happened. They will give you instructions, which you should follow. If a train isn't due for a fair amount of time, try and push your car clear. If no railway phone is present, use a mobile to call the police.

Breakdowns and Accidents At Level Crossings

If your car breaks down, or if you are involved in an accident on a level crossing:

Light Signals Ahead

Light signals ahead

Level Crossing Without Gate or Barrier

Level crossing without barrier or gate

Level Crossing With gate and Barrier

Level crossing with barrier or gate

Level Crossing Without Barrier

Level crossing without barrier

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