- In this type of crossing the barrier descends only over the left-hand half of the road on each approach side.
- Flashing lights are operated automatically by the train. Warning amber lights flash first then red ones.
- You should never try to drive in a zigzag round the closed barriers, against the lights. This could be fatal.
- As you drive over the crossing don’t be tempted to look up and down the track. Keep your eyes on the crossing.
- As you approach the level crossing and you see the barriers are closed, check in your rear view mirror for other traffic.
- Always be aware of other road users as you cross. Look out for pedestrians and cyclists who may also be crossing.
The busiest crossings have full barriers that descend together, one on each side of the road, so that between them they block the whole road. The exit barriers do not come down until the entrance ones are in place, so a vehicle cannot be trapped between them.
There are some 600 of this type of crossing in Britain, of which about 400 are manually controlled. The others are operated remotely, but
usually have closed-circuit television so the operator can see when to bring the barriers up.
There are also about 650 old-fashioned manually controlled level crossings in which the gates are opened and closed by a signalman, either by hand or electrically.
Automatic crossings, with signal lights and no attendant, are equipped with a telephone so that you can warn the signalman if you get stuck on the crossing. The phone is usually located close to the crossing and is housed in a steel box. There should be direction arrows to indicate where it is.
If you are driving a very large or slow-moving vehicle you should phone the signalman to check it is safe to cross. Once you have crossed you should telephone the signalman again to let him know the danger is passed.
Automatic level crossings
Manually controlled crossings generally cause no problems. But the other type of crossings are automatic and can cause accidents.
Most automatic crossings have half barriers, which descend only over the left-hand half of the road on each approach side. They are operated automatically by the approaching train. An extra warning is provided by flashing amber lights, followed by flashing red ones. There are about 280 of these in Britain. The most obvious safety
precaution for these crossings is never to be tempted to cross against the lights by driving a zigzag course round the closed barriers.
Some automatic crossings, called ‘automatic open crossings’, have no barriers. The motorist must observe the signal lights, as there is no other warning that the crossing is closed in favour of the railway.