Trains travel on their own path, but the tracks occasionally intersect with roadways. These areas can be incredibly dangerous.
A train cannot stop quickly or easily, so if a vehicle is on the tracks, it can lead to a serious accident. For this reason, the state has instituted a variety of safety protocols at crossings to help warn motorists of the train traffic and other possible hazards.
The state will put up signs indicating there is a train track up ahead. Sometimes it is a simple railroad crossing warning, but it may also indicate that trains will not use horns or that there is an intersection near the tracks. In some cases, the warnings are for large vehicles that may bottom out on the tracks due to low ground clearance.
Some railroad crossings may also have stop signs. These often show up at dangerous tracks or those that lack warning devices.
In some areas, the state may also put markings on the road that warn about a crossing coming up. They may also paint stop lines to indicate where to safely stop when a train is on the tracks. These stop lines can help prevent accidents if the train should come off the track by keeping vehicles at a safe distance.
The common warning devices are lights. The devices also include arms that come down to block vehicles from crossing. Some may also have bells or other sounds. These activate when a train approaches and crossing the tracks is no longer safe.
The various warnings, signs and signals at railroad crossings can help prevent accidents. Motorists should always be aware of them and obey any signals.