While rail remains the safest way to move goods over land, this Rail Safety Week, railroads and other safety advocates are intensifying their efforts to enhance public safety near railroad tracks — the single largest, most persistent rail safety challenge. According to Federal Railroad Administration data, more than ninety-five percent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers going through a grade crossing or a person on the tracks.

Overwhelmingly, these tragedies are preventable.

AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies emphasized the urgency of the situation, “Every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Rail Safety Week is a call to action, rallying the public to understand these avoidable risks. Stopping track of tragedies demands collective effort. There is more work to do, and each one of us has a role to play.”

Rail Safety Week, running September 18-24, aims to save lives through increasing public awareness about how to stay safe around railroad tracks. Protect yourself and your loved ones by following these top six rail safety tips:

  1. Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings and obey all signs, warning lights and gates.
  2. Never try to beat a train, as trains are quieter and faster than you think.
  3. Recognize it can take a mile or more to stop a train because of its size and weight.
  4. Always expect a train on any track, in any direction and avoid distractions when you approach a crossing.
  5. Be aware that trains can extend three feet or more beyond the steel rail, so maintain a safe distance from the platform or track’s edge.
  6. Remember that rail property is private property, and walking on the tracks is illegal and dangerous.

All week, Operation Lifesaver — the nation’s leader in rail safety education — will host programming and events nationwide to equip the public with the knowledge to make smart decisions near trains and tracks.