What to do at level crossings

When you are learning to drive you may well not come across a level crossing, depending where you live. But as a driver you certainly will come across level crossings and will need to know how to proceed safely when you encounter one.

There are various methods in which level crossings are controlled. Often there will be gates or barriers there and a lot of them have lights, but there are some where you must make the decision yourself to cross or stop.

Often a warning sign with a train will be displayed in advance and that tells you the level crossing you are approaching does not have a barrier or gate. There will also be a sign telling you there are lights, if there are lights.

When you see the lights for the crossing, look to see if they are on. If the lights are off, this tells you that there is no train coming, but before crossing still check just in case the lights are broken.

You will notice there are two red lights at the top and an amber one underneath. A steady amber light means you should stop unless it is unsafe to do so - just light on a normal traffic light.

Flashing red lights indicate that it is not safe to cross as the train is coming and therefore you must stop. Note that if a train passes you but the lights stay flashing, don't get impatient - there must be another train coming. Often on a line, for whatever reason, trains going in different directions may arrive at roughly the same time followed by a large gap, so you should just be patient and wait.

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