Breaking down or getting 'trapped' by the barriers on a railway crossing is thankfully a pretty rare occurance - but more importantly, it can easily be avoided. Even if it does not happen to you, it could happen to someone ahead of you in a queue, and if so would you know how to help them out?
Most railway crossings have automatically activated traffic control lights, warning sirens and barriers that control and block the paths of vehicles on both sides of the road. Many of them are also monitored by CCTV cameras although not always continuously. In more rural locations however, there may only be one barrier on each side of the road that blocks just the on-coming traffic, and again they may not be monitored all of the time.
Many accidents on railway crossings occur because an impatient driver when confonted by a closing barrier (or even a closed barrier on a rural crossing) decides to take a risk, and 'jump the lights'. This kind of behaviour is unbelievably dangerous, and should NEVER be considered as an option. Not only are you putting your life and the lives of your passengers in serious danger, but also the lives of everybody on board the approaching train.
If there is queue of traffic with a railway crossing in-between, you must never be tempted to cross the railway until there is plenty of room on the other side to stop clear of the barrier.
In the unlikely event that you do break down on the crossing and you cannot restart your vehicle quickly, you have two options depending on the situation.
If the warning sirens have sounded and there is obviously a train approaching - get everyone out of the vehicle immediately and get as far away from the track as possible (at least 40 - 50 metres).
If the alarms have not sounded and there is no train approaching, get everyone clear who is not going to assist you, and then try to restart or push the vehicle off the tracks.
If after only a few minutes you realise the vehicle cannot be moved, use the emergency telephone to warn the signalman that there is a problem, then call the emergency services and get well away from the crossing (again about 40 - 50 metres).
If you have been involved in a road accident that was not your fault, we can help you get a replacement vehicle, car repairs, legal assistance and injury compensation.
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