Community Roll Call

Members of the Wauwatosa Police Department's Community Support Division, with backup provided by the folks at, are now blogging. We will be providing you with an ongoing series of crime prevention tips, any current crime trends as well as pertinent news and notes as it relates to your Police Department.

Railroad Crossing Safety Part III

Public Education, Safety

Look both ways! Always expect a train. Trains can run on any track, at any time, in either direction. After a train passes, look both ways before proceeding.

Don’t get stuck on the tracks! Before you cross, be sure there is room on the other side to completely clear the tracks. Trains overhang the tracks by at least 3 feet on each side. For safety, leave at least 15 feet between your vehicle and the nearest rail.

Get out of the way! If your vehicle stalls at a crossing, get everyone out of the vehicle and far away immediately, even if you do not see a train. Call the emergency notification number posted on or near the crossing and also dial 911 to inform them about your stalled vehicle.

If you see a train coming, wait! Don’t be tempted to try to beat a train. An approaching train may be closer and/or traveling faster than it appears.

Trains cannot stop quickly! The average freight train traveling 55MPH takes a mile or more to stop. That’s 18 football fields. If the locomotive engineer can see you, it’s too late to stop the train.

Watch for vehicle that must stop at railroad crossings! Most states require school buses, commercial buses and truck carrying hazardous materials to stop at every grade crossing. Allow them room to stop and be patient while they stop and look both ways.

If you see a problem at a crossing, report it! Report any problem including but not limited to a stalled vehicle on the tracks, damaged sign, obstructed view or a signal malfunction to the railroad immediately. Call the emergency number posted on or near the crossing and/or notify local law enforcement.

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