Railroad Crossing Signs
We see them, stop at them, and cross them so often that they practically fade into the background. But despite their proliferation, railroad crossing areas are some of the most dangerous places on the roads. This is why, in many cases, they will be heavily guarded by lights, crossbars, and other warnings to drivers. It’s why trains themselves are equipped with unfathomably loud horns that can be heard for more than a mile in advance. The importance of keeping motorists safe as they cross the tracks cannot be overstated, and public authorities do everything in their budget to make these crossings more secure. With bold Railroad Crossing signs, you can do your part in keeping the tracks clear.
Railroad Crossing Signs: Two Main Types
When deciding which Railroad Crossing signs to put up at the tracks, traffic control officials will usually consider two main types: Active signage and passive signage. If you’ve ever arrived at the tracks only to be stopped by a “guard gate,” flashing lights, and the loud sound of a bell-esque alarm, you’ve encountered what we call the active type of signage. While this signage has proven to be highly effective in many situations, it isn’t always budget-friendly. If you’re posting signs around a track/road intersection that sees little traffic, you may want to consider the simpler, more affordable path of passive Railroad Crossing signage.
Even if you’re putting up Railroad Crossing signs on private property, it doesn’t hurt to research the regulations and requirements outlined by the MUTCD and other public traffic guides. With this information, you can determine how much signage you need, which type you should use, and where to place it for maximum impact. By consulting the requirements first, you’ll avoid the unenviable scenario of having to go back and re-do it after an inspection. If you have access to the railroad itself, you might even want to call them and see if they’ll foot the bill. Depending on where the tracks are located, they may be required to handle their own signage.
Make no mistake about it: Railroad Crossing signs save lives. The nature of trains is that they are moving with far too much momentum to stop on a dime. If a car breaks down on the tracks (or tries to “beat” the train across the tracks), the chances of an unfolding disaster are incredibly high. If it is to be avoided, it will be avoided by the driver of the car – not the conductor of the train. The time for stopping just isn’t there. Hence, the U.S. sees 6,000 collisions between trains and cars every year – many of which result in injuries and death. Railroad Crossing signs can save everyone from this fate, but they can certainly mitigate the number of tragic accidents at any particular crossing place.