Improving Railway Crossing Safety Through Driver Education

By John Faquhar and Michael Derry

Toronto, ON (Jan. 29, 2018) – Railway crossings are just one of the unsuspecting hazards we deal with daily. They seem so easy to cross, yet when something goes wrong such as a vehicle colliding with a train, the results can be catastrophic and potentially fatal.

The primary cause of vehicle-train collisions is driver error. The key to improving railway crossing safety is through education.

Drivers must be aware that there are rules to follow when crossing a railway. Although these rules were likely part of the training we received when we first obtained our driver’s licence, that was several years ago for many of us. Railway-specific training is a major component of continuing education and necessary in combatting complacency. Most railway incidents happen within 40 kilometres of our home or terminal location because we become too familiar with our surroundings and forget about these hazards.

It takes a train up to 2 kilometres to come to a full stop, even if the emergency brakes are activated. Being prepared is the best defense when dealing with a railway crossing. Be aware of multiple tracks and do not proceed until you can see clearly in both directions and can safely clear the crossing and gates, if present.

When preparing for a trip, take into consideration the routes that will be travelled, including the potential for any railway crossings. Knowing where these crossings are will help ensure crossing railway tracks safely.

A great resource for training and information is Operation Lifesaver, a unique public-private partnership that promotes awareness to help save lives and reduce suffering from injuries incurred at highway/railway crossings. “We believe even one injury or fatality is one too many, because virtually every incident is preventable,” says Operation Lifesaver on their website. And we agree. Start learning more about railway crossing safety, today.

About the Authors

John Farquhar has been exclusively in the Risk Management side of the Transportation Industry for the past 12 years. His expertise stems from three generations of family who have been in the transportation business. John began his career over 30 years ago as a long haul driver before making his way up the ranks to an owner operator, fleet owner and then successful company owner and president. In 2002, John exited the trucking segment and restructured his company into a risk management consulting firm to aid and assist various transportation operations with best practice techniques. His experience includes leading the Risk Services team in Canada for a large Global Transportation Insurer, and he has been a Risk Solutions Specialist with The Guarantee for almost five years. Connect with John Farquhar on Twitter @1975Buick

Michael Derry has been involved in safety, training and compliance in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He started as a driver trainer and worked his way through to supervisory positions in Safety, Compliance and Risk Management. From basic transportation through to specialized multi axle over-dimensional cargo, his experience as both a driver and a safety professional are the two main factors that shape his approach and attitude to transportation safety. The improvements that he has made in every business that he has worked at attest to his skills and diligence. Michael’s involvement in the trucking industry, safety associations and real-life best practices for running a transport company made his transition to working with The Guarantee’s transportation team a natural one. Connect with Michael Derry on LinkedIn.

About the Guarantee

The Guarantee Company of North America is a leader in specialty insurance and surety within the North American marketplace. We offer in-depth knowledge and expertise in niche segments, including the surety industry, corporate insurance, transportation industry, credit, and customized personal insurance. For more information, visit

Disclaimer: This blog/article is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not intend to replace legal, technical or other professional advice or to represent actual or potential coverage under any insurance contract. At all times, the specific issued policy in its entirety – including all definitions, conditions and exclusions – is to be used when determining the scope of potential coverage under The Guarantee’s insurance products. The Guarantee Company of North America disclaims all warranties whatsoever.

SOURCE: The Guarantee Company of North America

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