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10. Sharing the Road

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Crossing Railroad Tracks

Watch for vehicles that must stop before crossing railroad tracks. Be prepared to stop when you are following buses, school buses, and large trucks carrying hazardous loads, whether or not there is an approaching train at the crossing.

If during the last 100 feet approaching the crossing, you cannot see the track for at least 400 feet in both directions, you may not cross the tracks at a speed faster than 15 MPH. You may go faster than 15 MPH if the crossing is controlled by gates, a warning signal, or a flagperson.

It is very important to be careful near railroad crossings at night. In the darkness, it is particularly difficult to judge speed and distance of approaching trains. If you have any doubts, it is always better err on the side of caution and wait for the train to pass.

It is illegal to pass another vehicle by driving in lanes of oncoming traffic on or within 100 feet of a railroad crossing .

You may not park within 7.5 feet of a railroad track.

A court may suspend your license for up to 6 months for failing to stop at a railroad crossing when you are required to do so.

Railroad crossings in some jurisdictions are equipped with automated(photographic) enforcement systems similar to the type used to catch red-light runners. These systems can be legally used to give tickets to motorists who fail to stop for trains as long as there are signs warning motorists on each side of the crossing.

Railroad crossings are equipped with signs. They also may have pavement markings and signals and controls such as bells, lights, and gates. You should stop at least 15 feet from railroad tracks when:

  • a person or signal warns you that a train is coming
  • you see a train coming
  • you hear the horn or bell of a train close by
  • Railroad crossbuck signs are present at almost all public railroad crossings. Treat them the same as a yield sign. You should slow down and stop if a train approaches the crossing. You may continue once the crossing is clear. If there is more than one track, a sign below the crossbuck indicates the number of tracks.

    You may also see pavement markings, consisting of a large white X, the letters RR and a stop line, painted white on the pavement in front of a railroad crossing. Always stay behind the painted limit line while waiting for a passing train. At railroad crossings that do not have limit lines, you must stop at the entrance to the crossing.

    Many grade crossings have flashing red light signals combined with crossbuck signs. Some also have bells which ring to warn of approaching trains. You must treat these devices the same way you would a red traffic light. Always stop when the lights begin to flash and/or the bell rings; this means a train is coming. If there is more than one track, make sure all tracks are clear before crossing. Do not continue through the railroad crossing until it is clear and the lights stop flashing.

    Remember that flashing red lights at a railroad crossing always mean to stop completely and immediately at least 15 feet before the tracks.

    Gated crossings are a further refinement of flashing light signals. They mean the same as ordinary flashing red light signals and are more likely to be placed on busy roadways. Stop when the lights begin to flash and before the gate begins to lower across your road lane. Do not attempt to cross until the gates are raised and the lights have stopped flashing. Do not attempt to drive around the gates. Do not stop directly on a gated crossing where there is the risk of getting trapped on it by lowered gates.

    Do not drive around or under closed railroad gates; it’s illegal and deadly. Wait for the gates to rise and the red lights to stop flashing before proceeding. Cross only when it is safe and you can see clearly in both directions.

    Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 10 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. Pedestrians comprise about what ratio of traffic fatalities?


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    2. The most common collision in a work zone is from:


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    3. If you fail to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights:


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    4. In the United States, a bicyclist is killed:


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    5. An orange trianglular sign on the back of a vehicle means:


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